UK High Court allows for disclosure of material in follow up action
On 11 April, Mr Justice Roth gave his latest judgment in National Grid Electricity Transmission plc v ABB Limited and others. The case was part of the long running follow-on damages claim being brought by National Grid against members of the Gas Insulated Switchgear cartel. In 2008, National Grid commenced proceedings against the Switchgear cartel members to seek approximately £108 million compensation plus interest for damages from being forced to pay increased prices for relevant products in the UK transmission system than would have been the case in a competitive market.
Mr Justice Roth in his latest judgment ruled that the French Defendants to the proceedings (companies within the Alstom and Areva groups) must provide disclosure of relevant documents. After considering extensive evidence from experts in French law, Roth J rejected the argument that there is a real risk of those companies being prosecuted in France under the so-called 'French Blocking Statute' (Law No. 68-678 of 26 July 1968) if they comply with a disclosure order from the English High Court. He also rejected a cross-application, made by the French Defendants, for a request to be made to the French Courts for evidence to be taken under Regulation 1206/2001.
We understand that ABB is to challenge the Dutch ruling that it is liable for damages to the electricity operator Tennet. In January, the Arnhem court found in favour of Tennet, finding ABB liable. The question of quantum of damages was left to separate proceedings. We note that the Dutch court has dismissed ABB's arguments on pass on, in that the higher prices were passed on to customers.
For the judgment in full, please click here.