Court Rejects Damages Claims Against Client Lactalis

Paris Commercial Court relies on Compass Lexecon analysis in rejection of damages claims.

In February 2020, the Paris Commercial Court fully rejected all damages claims of distribution companies that were brought against dairy manufacturers before the Consular Court. These damages claims followed a cartel in the sector for fresh dairy products in France (including price fixing and volume allocation) which was fined by the French Competition Authority in March 2015. One of the claims against our client, dairy producer Lactalis, was by retailing company Cora and its purchasing unit Provera.

A Compass Lexecon team assisted Lactalis by providing economic support during the 3 years of litigation. We produced two expert reports rebutting the analysis by RBB Economics on which the damage claim was based. For instance, we tested whether the economic hypotheses considered by Provera were in line with the alleged practices, by using multinomial regression analysis for the overcharge, present value scenarios, and pass-on defense. Our expert David Sevy also testified during a court hearing. In its rejection of the claims, the Paris Commercial Court primarily underlined the need for a causal link between the practices and the alleged damages and it relied on Compass Lexecon’s analysis to conclude that such a causal link was not proven.

The Compass Lexecon team comprised, at various stages of the litigation, David Sevy, Enrique Andreu, Jeremiah Juts, Thibaut de Bernard, and Jaime Coronado.