Lord Macdonald: Sub-Postmasters’ Rights to Claim Additional Compensation “Would Be Extinguished” by Litigation Funding Bill

By John Freund |

Following the UK government’s introduction of the Litigation Funding Agreements (Enforceability) Bill to the House of Lords, there was widespread approval from litigation funders. However, it appears we are seeing the first signs of opposition to the proposed legal changes from members of the House of Lords, with the Post Office case once again coming to the forefront of the debate around the role of litigation funding.

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Altroconsumo Secures Impressive 50 million Euro Settlement for 60,000 Participants to Dieselgate Class Action in Italy

By Harry Moran |

Altroconsumo and VW Group have reached a ground-breaking agreement, providing over 50 million euro relief to over 60,000 Italian consumers affected by the emissions fraud scandal. Celebrating this major win for Italian consumers, Euroconsumers calls on Volkswagen to now also compensate Dieselgate victims in the other Euroconsumers countries. 

The settlement reached by Altroconsumo, arising from a Euroconsumers coordinated class action which commenced in 2015 ensures that Volkswagen will allocate over 50 million euros in compensation. Eligible participants stand to receive payments of up to 1100 euros per individual owner.

This brings an end to an eight year long legal battle that Altroconsumo together with Euroconsumers has been fiercefully fighting for Italian consumers and marks a significant milestone in seeking justice for those impacted by the ‘Dieselgate’ scandal.

We extend our massive congratulations to Altroconsumo for reaching this major settlement in favor of the Italian Dieselgate victims. Finally, they will receive the justice and compensation they deserve. This milestone underscores the importance of upholding consumer rights and the accountability of big market players when these rights are ignored, something Euroconsumers and all its national organisations will continue to do together with even more intensity under the new Representative Actions Directive” – Marco Scialdone, Head Litigation and Academic Outreach Euroconsumers

Together with Altroconsumo in Italy, Euroconsumers also initiated Dieselgate class actions against the Volkswagen-group in Belgium, Spain and Portugal. While the circumstances are shared, the outcomes have been far from consistent.

Euroconsumers was the first European consumer cluster to launch collective actions against Volkswagen to secure redress and compensation for all affected by the emissions scandal in its member countries. After 8 years of relentless pursuit, we urge the VW group to finally come through for all of them and give all of them the compensation they rightfully deserve. All Dieselgate victims are equal and should be treated with equal respect.” – Els Bruggeman, Head Policy and Enforcement Euroconsumers

Consumer protection is nothing without enforcement and so Euroconsumers and its organisations will continue to lead important class actions which benefit consumers all across the single market. 

Read the full Altroconsumo press release here.

About Euroconsumers 

Gathering five national consumer organisations and giving voice to a total of more than 1,5 million people in Italy, Belgium, Spain, Portugal and Brazil, Euroconsumers is the world’s leading consumer cluster in innovative information, personalised services and the defence of consumer rights. Our European member organisations are part of the umbrella network of BEUC, the European Consumer Organisation. Together we advocate for EU policies that benefit consumers in their daily lives.

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CAT Approves £25 Million Settlement in Boundary Fares Class Action

By Harry Moran |

As LFJ reported last month, the parties in the Stagecoach South Western Trains class action had reached a settlement agreement, with SSWT agreeing to pay up to £25 million to eligible class members who were overcharged on their rail fares by the train operator.

An article in City A.M. provides an update on the case, as the Competition Appeal Tribunal (CAT) has approved the proposed settlement. Now that it has been approved by the tribunal, class members will be able to register and submit a claim for payment in order to receive compensation from the settlement. The claim period will last for six months, from 10 July 2024 to 10 January 2025.

Within four months of the claim period ending, the class representative will then provide SSWT with the total amount to be claimed, up to the total of £25 million agreed in the settlement. SSWT will then have a period of 21 days following receipt of this information to pay the class representative the ‘notified damages sum’.

The class action was filed by Charles Lyndon, with Woodsford Group providing the funding for the litigation. 

Steven Friel, Woodsford’s CEO said: “This settlement approval confirms Woodsford as the most active and the most successful litigation funder in the CAT collective proceedings regime. Our actions have resulted in the first two, and as yet only, court-approved settlements in the regime.”The full collective settlement approval order from the CAT can be read here.

Reversal of $1.6 Billion IBM Judgement Puts Judgement Preservation Insurance in the Spotlight

By Harry Moran |

The value of litigation insurance, and the natural pairing of this coverage with litigation funding, is often highlighted as one of the core strengths of the current litigation environment. However, a significant reversal of a $1.6 billion judgement has shown that insurers must carefully balance the risks of uncertain outcomes when providing judgement preservation insurance.

Reporting by Bloomberg Law covers the ongoing impact of the decision by the US Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit to overturn a $1.6 billion judgement against IBM, which has left Liberty Mutual facing up to $150 million in coverage for judgement preservation insurance it provided. According to Bloomberg’s sources, Liberty Mutual has since withdrawn from “at least two potential litigation insurance deals” since the appeals court’s ruling. The $1.6 billion judgement was reportedly insured by a group of insurers to cover between $500 million and $750 million, with Liberty alone having covered between $100 million and $150 million.

Richard Angevine, a spokesperson for the insurer, said: “Liberty Mutual Insurance does not publicly discuss individual commercial insurance customers.”

Speaking to Bloomberg Law about the broader impact of this type of judgement on the litigation insurance market, Jason Goldy, a global team leader for Alliant Insurance’s Litigation & Contingent Risk Practice, said that insurers will continue to adjust their approach. Goldy said that “in the last six months you’ve seen these adjustments and I would think that you’re likely to see them accelerated if there are material losses,” but clarified that “the market will survive.” 

In a similar vein of thinking, Michael Perich, head of litigation insurance at Lockton, agreed that “the market is fluid and it's proven the ability to adapt to things.”