Europe Gets Litigious

In the wake of recent corporate scandals, European courts have become flooded with individual shareholder suits. A Bloomberg article discusses the Deutsche Telekom litigation in Germany, where 2,100 claims have been filed by 754 law firms. Last February, the company delivered 8 tons of paperwork in response to the complaints. All of this has European courts and legislators contemplating whether they should permit shareholders to file securities class actions.

Quote of note: “Countries from the Netherlands to Finland have changed their laws or are considering changes to permit investors and consumers to file multi-party complaints. The goal is to help cope with shareholder suits and product liability cases that can attract thousands of plaintiffs.”

Quote of note II: “‘Europe wasn’t litigious until about five years ago, but then we started to get Americanized,’ says Paul Bowden, a 49-year-old partner at the law firm of Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer in London. ‘Consumer associations have become more powerful and willing to push lawsuits, and there is a growing number of small law firms with young, ambitious lawyers who have learned a lot from the U.S.'”

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