Forwarder group loses appeal to sue BA
18 / 11 / 2010
BRITISH Airways has won its appeal against an attempt by a group of its air cargo customers to bring a US-style class-action lawsuit against it for price fixing.
If the court had approved the lawsuit it would have made UK legal history and opened the way for a wave of similar cases.
The group is led by two flower importers – Emerald Supplies and Southern Glasshouse Produce – but composes hundreds of other companies, large and small.
Justice John Mummery said that it was this large variety of companies that prevented the case going ahead because the group was too ill defined and it was impossible to ensure that every claimant had the same interest in the case, leading to a multitude of conflicts.
“In this case, a judgment on liability has to be obtained before it is known whether the interests of the persons whom the claimants seek to represent are the same,” he said.
Anthony Maton of Hausfield & Co, a lawyer for the group, said the ruling was “disappointing”.
“Proceeding on a representative basis would have simplified the steps required of the cartel’s victims in order to make good their claims against BA, ultimately saving all parties involved significant time and costs,” he added.