Following the Commission’s decision to levy a €676 million fine on the participants of a paraffin wax cartel, plaintiff firm Hausfeld LLP has launched legal proceedings in the High Court against Shell and ExxonMobil, two of the cartel’s participants. The claimants that Hausfeld is representing are a number of candle manufacturers based in Europe who argue that they suffered losses as a result of agreements between the cartel participants to fix the price of paraffin wax between 1992 and 2005.
Hausfeld’s claim alleges that the defendants are jointly and severally liable for the actions of the cartel members. In the meantime, an appeal is ongoing at the Court of First Instance against the Commission’s decision, which imposed a fine of €84 million on ExxonMobil (Shell, having blown the whistle on the cartel, escaped a fine). The claim marks a further example of a claimant looking to take the first steps of a cartel damages claim before regulatory proceedings are completed in order to ensure that the claim is not time-barred.