A Brazilian company accused of being involved in an illegal cartel will not have to face mass damages claims in the UK after the High Court in London ruled that it does not have jurisdiction to consider the case.
Freshplaza wrote an earlier article on the case. However, claims raised against two of the company’s board members can proceed after the court determined that it does have jurisdiction to hear those.
Competition law expert Alan Davis of Pinsent Masons, the law firm behind Out-Law, said the judgment provides useful guidance about when an international company might be sued in England and Wales in relation to events abroad – something that in the context of claims brought by large numbers of claimants is sometimes referred to as ‘class action tourism’.
At the heart of the case considered by the High Court are two claims, backed by more than 1,500 Brazilian orange farmers, against orange juice producer and exporter Sucocítrico Cutrale and two of its board members. The farmers are seeking redress for harm they claim they have been caused by restrictions on competition arising from the alleged cartel.
There is ongoing litigation in Brazil in relation to the alleged cartel, but the farmers are seeking to have their claims heard before the courts in England and Wales. Sucocítrico Cutrale and board members José Luis Cutrale and José Luis Cutrale Jnr have objected to this.
Whether the courts in England and Wales have jurisdiction to hear a case is currently determined with reference to the Brussels Recast Regulation.