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Acting for Media-Saturn in High Court competition decision

Posted on 03 May 2019

Mishcon de Reya's Competition Group acted for Media-Saturn, securing a High Court judgment on Thursday 2 May that will have ramifications in the field of competition litigation.

Following a decision of the European Commission in December 2012 in relation to colour picture tube ("CPT") manufacturers, which found that companies in the Panasonic and Toshiba Groups - among other cartelists - had engaged in anti-competitive conduct, Media-Saturn sought to recover losses they had incurred whilst purchasing colour TV's between 1999-2006 from the cartelists. A CPT is a valuable component of a colour television, representing around 40% of its value. Media-Saturn claims it paid more for colour televisions containing CPTs than it should have done because of the existence of the cartel.

Media-Saturn originally filed the claim in April 2017, after Mishcon de Reya had already secured settlements totalling tens of millions of euros with other companies involved in either the CPT cartel and a separate liquid crystal display (LCD) panel cartel, or both, which were the subject of a separate Commission Decision.

The recent High Court judgment dismissed all elements of the Defendants' - Panasonic and Toshiba's - applications for strike out/summary judgment of Media-Saturn's claim, save for the economic tort arguments.

Commenting on this judgment, Mishcon de Reya Associate Eleanor Powell, who acted on the case, said:

"This is an excellent result for our client and a significant judgment in competition litigation. The Defendants' applications for strike out/summary judgment were dismissed, save for the economic tort elements. Notably the judgment recognises that the absence of sales of a cartelised product from a defendant to a claimant who has suffered substantial damage is not enough for a claim against that defendant to be summarily dismissed or struck out if it is sufficiently arguable that company participated in and/or knowingly implemented a cartel.  This will allow for more effective recourse for claimants who have suffered harm as a result of cartel activity."

This decision has been covered in Global Competition Review.

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