The Competition Appeal Tribunal (CAT) has ruled in the Emerson damages case that certain documents disclosed must be used by the claimants only for the purposes of the proceedings before the CAT and not in other proceedings.

Background

In February 2007, five companies (Emerson Electric Co., Valeo SA, Robert Bosch GmbH, Visteon Corporation and Rockwell Automation Inc.) filed a claim for damages against Morgan Crucible and others (Schunk GmBH, Schunk Kohlenstofftechnik GmbH, Carbone Lorraine SA and SGL Carbon AG) before the CAT.

The defendants had been fined by the European Commission for breaching Article 81(1) of the EC Treaty by being involved in a carbon and graphite products cartel which involved both price fixing and market sharing.

The claimants had purchased such carbon and graphite products from the defendants whilst the cartel was in operation and claimed that the defendants have been unjustly enriched as a result of the cartel.

CAT order

On 24 January 2008, the CAT made an order requiring the claimants to use documents disclosed pursuant to a previous order of the CAT only for the purposes of the current proceedings and not for any other purpose.

However, there are three exceptions to this restriction:

  1. where the CAT gives permission for documents to be used for other purposes;
  2. where the party who disclosed the document and the owner of the document agrees to its use for other purposes; or
  3. where the document has been read to or by the CAT, or referred to, at a public hearing.

The documents in question are any standard disclosure documents and Morgan Crucible's submissions to the European Commission in the carbon and graphics products cartel referred to above.

Permission to make a damages claim

Most recently, and following the CAT granting permission to make a claim against Morgan Crucible in November 2007, there was a hearing on 20 and 21 of February 2008 on whether the CAT should grant permission to the claimants to make a claim against the other proposed defendants listed above. The CAT has not yet, however, published its decision on whether to grant such permission.