By Joanne Faulkner

Law360, London (November 5, 2020, 9:47 PM GMT) —

U.S. plaintiffs firm Scott + Scott Attorneys at Law LLP announced Thursday it is launching a Berlin office led by an antitrust expert from Deutsche Bahn in an effort to cater to large multinationals seeking damages for breaches of competition law.

Markus Hutschneider, who joined from German rail giant Deutsche Bahn on Monday, will lead five lawyers focused on competition enforcement cases. The law firm is preparing a number of suits ahead of some significant European Commission competition decisions.

The firm’s managing partner, David R. Scott, emphasized that Germany is a preferred jurisdiction for cartel damages actions in explaining the new office. In particular, truck makers and auto parts suppliers that caused consumers and businesses alike to pay inflated prices for vehicles and fuel have been hit with high-profile price-fixing suits.

“It became increasingly clear that we needed to offer our clients quality claimant-side services in this market,” Scott said in a statement. “We are incredibly fortunate to have someone with Markus’ reputation for excellence and deep experience in competition law spearheading our efforts here.”

Prior to joining Scott + Scott, Hutschneider spent 10 years at Deutsche Bahn. While at the German railway, he headed the multinational company’s team of lawyers in the competition litigation unit, working on several high-profile cases involving the German rail track cartel, the air cargo cartel and the trucks cartel.

Before that, Hutschneider worked in the Berlin office of U.S law firm WilmerHale.

“From my work at Deutsche Bahn, a pioneer in corporate recoveries of cartel damages, I’ve become deeply familiar with the needs of multinational companies when it comes to private enforcement,” Hutschneider said in a statement Thursday. “I’m excited by the opportunity to work with Scott + Scott, a law firm that represents some of the largest corporates in the world.”

Also joining the Berlin office is partner Michael Melber, snagged from K&L Gates LLP’s litigation and dispute resolution practice group.

Melber, who is set to join the firm in January, is experienced in resolving large-scale commercial disputes before German state courts, including mass proceedings, as well as before domestic and international arbitration tribunals. His practice focuses on banking and finance disputes and product liability.

Last year, Scott + Scott opened Scott + Scott Europe BV with an office in Amsterdam.

In the U.K., Scott + Scott is currently representing companies including Hermes, GrandVision and Vodafone in lawsuits against Visa and Mastercard over allegations that the fees imposed on credit and debit card transactions violate competition law.

In the U.S., the firm is serving as co-lead counsel for a nationwide class that’s scored $2.3 billion in settlements over claims that more than a dozen banks colluded to rig benchmark exchange rates in the foreign exchange markets.

–Additional reporting by  Matthew Perlman. Editing by Abbie Sarfo.