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Clifford Chance achieves success for KONE in groundbreaking damages litigation

25 November 2014

Clifford Chance achieves success for KONE in groundbreaking damages litigation

Leading international law firm Clifford Chance has acted for elevator and escalator manufacturer, KONE, following its alleged participation in the elevators and escalators cartel. On Monday 24 November, the Brussels Commercial Court handed down its final judgment in the first ever damages case brought by the European Commission as a follow-on action to its own cartel decision.

The Commission had previously sued four elevator and escalator providers: KONE; Otis; ThyssenKrupp; and Schindler in 2008, seeking over six million Euros in damages which it claimed resulted from the market sharing cartel that the Commission found in its Decision of 2007.  

Monday's judgment rejects the Commission's claim, finding that i) the Commission failed to prove that the cartel led to higher prices in its contracts with the elevator and escalator providers, ii) in the context of a market sharing cartel, there can be no presumption that a cartel has led to higher prices, and that iii) the Commission failed to prove a causal link.  The Court ordered the Commission to pay EUR 16,500 in court costs to each of the defendants.

Clifford Chance represented Finnish elevator and escalator manufacturer KONE. The Brussels-based team was led by antitrust partner Thomas Vinje, assisted by litigation partner Sébastien Ryelandt, litigation senior associate Dorothée Vermeiren and antitrust counsel Dieter Paemen.