In a judgment of 7 January 2015, the District Court of Amsterdam ruled that it has jurisdiction over antitrust "follow-on" claims instituted by claim vehicle Equilib against British Airways and Lufthansa. The District Court decided that Equilib did not abuse civil procedural rules by instituting a duplicate claim against them and only including KLM and Martinair to "anchor" the case in the Netherlands.
Already back in 2010, Equilib had instituted claims against KLM, Martinair and Air France before the same court on the basis of an alleged infringement of competition law as established by the European Commission in the air cargo decision. Four years later, Equilib started a second round of proceedings largely based on the same facts, this time including British Airways and Lufthansa.
British Airways and Lufthansa argued that this duplicate claim abused rules of civil procedure and the Brussels I regulation on jurisdiction, by only including KLM and Martinair to create jurisdiction before a Dutch court instead of having to start a case in the English and German homelands of the airlines.
The Amsterdam District Court disagreed and stated that claimants may add new defendants to a case, for example to rectify mistakes or to prevent limitation periods to expire. Dutch procedural law does not hinder claimants starting a second round of proceedings against new defendants, including the same defendants as in the earlier case to anchor the case in the Dutch jurisdiction, after which the proceedings can be combined. This process occurs in legal practice, is acceptable and does not violate the Brussels I regulation, according to the District Court. The ruling of the District Court shows that the Dutch courts approve of the practice of forum shopping via anchor defendants and confirms again that the Dutch courts have low thresholds in accepting jurisdiction.