Dispute resolution: Commercial litigation in Netherlands
Allen & Overy LLP
Allen & Overy LLP’s ‘knowledgeable’ practice is '(importantly) willing to contradict the client'. Richard de Haan and practice head Marieke van Hooijdonk represented Bencis Capital Partners in securing a favourable judgment in a dispute pertaining to corporate and securities issues, following the client's acquisition of digital printing business, Xeikon. de Haan also acted for the Dutch Ministry of Finance in a set of cases emerging from the nationalisation of SNS Reaal, the fourth largest bank in the Netherlands. Arnold Croiset van Uchelen continues to lead major matters for clients including Deloitte and Bourrelier, a large French retailer. The practice also includes Brechje van der Velden and counsel Hilde Van Der Baan. Marnix de Planque has re-joined the Amsterdam office following a period in the firm’s Perth office.
De Brauw Blackstone Westbroek’s team is ‘smart, dedicated and business savvy’. Eelco Meerdink and practice lead Bommel van der Bend are acting for the Yukos oil group of companies in a series of expropriation cases by the Russian state. Marnix Leijten and Jan de Bie Leuveling Tjeenk are acting for Enel in multi-jurisdictional proceedings challenging the recognition and enforcement of an Albanian court's judgment in the sum of €435m for breach of due process and natural justice, among other issues. Machteld de Monchy, Matthias Kuscher and Martje Verhoeven-de Vries Lentsch have been promoted to partner. Senior associate Stefan Derksen is also noted. Marc Yzonides left the firm.
The ‘consistently excellent, very responsive’ team at Houthoff is, according to one client, 'in a class of its own' and its lawyers are 'tactically astute, intellectually great, and very commercial in their approach'. The ‘experienced’ Albert Knigge ('provides superb client care') and Bart van der Wiel jointly head the practice. Highlights included acting for Elliott Advisors in a takeover dispute concerning Dutch chemical giant Akzo Nobel and Pittsburgh-based PPG’s take-over bid amounting to over €24bn, and defending Petrobras in a securities class action concerning alleged financial fraud. Jan Willem de Groot is 'good at handling clients and giving them confidence' and is 'willing to take a view'. Rob Meijer is also noted.
NautaDutilh’s practice is ‘ahead of the game’ and has 'an excellent reputation in the market'. It is a popular choice for financial institutions and, in a recent example of its strength in this area, Daan Lunsingh Scheurleer is representing Deloitte in proceedings pertaining to aspects of its audit of Steinhoff International Holdings NV. Supreme Court litigator Freerk Vermeulen successfully acted for Urgenda in climate change litigation against the state of the Netherlands. Paul Olden and Frans Overkleeft are also noted. Yvette Steeg-Tijms has been promoted to partner.
The team at Pels Rijcken & Droogleever Fortuijn NV is ‘very responsive and very knowledgeable’ and is commended for its 'excellent' work. It is well known for acting for the Dutch state but has made a concerted effort to broaden its commercial litigation practice recently. The team is jointly led by Willem Heemskerk ('an excellent lawyer with the ability to really think a case through', who 'then adds the right solution') and Karlijn Teuben ('analytical and responsive'). The firm is representing Royal Dutch Shell in the ‘Ogoni-9’ case, which concerns allegations of the client's complicity in the trial and execution of environmental activists in the 1990s. Heemskerk is also acting for steel conglomerate ArcelorMittal in an action for cartel damages initiated by Deutsche Bahn. Bert-Jan Houtzagers and the ‘productive’ Hans van Wijk are also recommended.
Led by Jeroen Kortmann and Fons Leijten, Stibbe's sizeable team handles a range of work including mass damage litigation, banking litigation, corporate litigation, insolvency and director's liability and complex contractual disputes. Kortmann and Leijten successfully defended BP in securities litigation relating to the 2010 Mexican Gulf oil spill. Branda Katan was promoted to partner in January 2018. Senior associate Simon Boersen is also noted.
At BarentsKrans, Rieme-Jan Tjittes successfully defended claims against BP by Ballast Nedama in a €3m construction dispute. Martijn van Maanen is acting for litigation funding company, Cartel Damage Claims, in the sodium chlorate cartel, a Europe-wide cartel matter. William Schonewille is also a name to note. The team saw a number of changes: Annelies van der Ploeg was promoted to the partnership and Marjolein van Rest to senior associate. The group is also a key name for financial and Supreme Court litigation.
Bird & Bird LLP’s ‘responsive’ team is ‘easy to work with’; it has a core focus on the technology, communication and media sectors, and maintains a strong reputation in the field of liability and insurance disputes. Olaf Trojan and practice head Evelyn Tjon-En-Fa, who is acting as Supreme Court counsel on the matter, are representing Skyscanner in appeal proceedings regarding allegations of misleading ticket offerings. The 'very dedicated' Tjon-En-Fa also successfully represented Allianz and Zurich in a €3.5m claim submitted by AtteroHolding N.V. Other clients include Crocs, Tele2, and Ablynx, a Belgian bio-pharmaceutical company.
Clifford Chance's team is praised for its ‘deep knowledge’ and handles large and complex litigation and contentious regulatory mandates. Dirk-Jan Duynstee is representing the Dutch Ministry of Finance in a damages claim filed by a former shareholder of the bankrupt DSB Bank and is also defending Deutsche Bank against an €800m claim filed by Vestia, a Dutch housing corporation, regarding certain derivative transactions. Practice lead and the firm's senior partner Jeroen Ouwehand is acting for the chief executive of Unitel in defending damages claims filed by PT Ventures.
Loyens & Loeff fields a team of ‘smart and practical practitioners’ who 'think on their feet'. Complex banking litigation, securities litigation and shareholders’ and joint-venture related disputes are core strengths. ‘Top litigator’ Jeroen van den Brande and Mijke Sinninghe Damsté are key names in Hendrik van Druten's practice.
Simmons & Simmons’s team focuses on finance, corporate and technology-related disputes. Johan Polet is representing EAM Solar Group in litigation in the Italian and Luxembourg courts, as well as in Norway and Switzerland, arising out of a conflict regarding the acquisition by EAM of more than 30 solar power plants. Alongside fellow practice head Bernard Verbunt, Polet is also acting for Gilde Equity Management in a post-M&A dispute concerning the acquisition of Leen Bakker. Robert Verburg joined as counsel in September 2018 from Clifford Chance.
Van Doorne fields ‘a sharp and competent team’. Practice co-head Jasper Leedekerken and Sjoerd Kamerbeek, who was promoted to partner in 2018, are representing Innsworth Advisors in proceedings against Steinhoff Holdings N.V. following accounting regularities at the company which resulted in shareholder losses. Fellow co-heads Lisette Bieleveld and Walter Hendriksen are acting for Catella Bank against a Dutch real estate investor and the Dutch State Lottery in a long-running class action.
At Baker McKenzie, Frank Kroes is defending a former director of a South African mining company in a misappropriation of company funds case. Itse Oosterhoff, who provides 'top-notch’ advice, is retained by Asics Europe for major litigation and other legal work. Robert van Agteren leads the department, which also handles Supreme Court matters in additional to its commercial litigation caseload.
At DLA Piper, practice head Léon Korsten is ‘calm and calculated’, He successfully represented the ‘Baak' consortium, consisting of Deme Concessions Infrastructure, Ballast Nedam Concessies and Macquarie Corporate Holdings, in litigation concerning the grant of a major infrastructure project. Counsels Janet Meesters and Arjen de Snoo were new arrivals from Houthoff. Michiel Coenraads has been promoted to partner.
The 'expert, pragmatic and efficient' team at Evers Soerjatin has 'a very practical approach'. According to one client, the team 'talks strategy in a clear and sensible manner and clearly highlights risks and concerns to ensure that the client can adequately evaluate the decision-making process'. Practice head Ellen Soerjatin represented a number of investment funds of the Franklin Templeton Investment Group in supporting Elliott’s request to intervene in PPG’s takeover of Dutch paint maker, AkzoNobel. ‘Excellent and pragmatic’ co-head Marcel Evers is acting for Dutch Volkswagen, Audi, Seat and Skoda dealers and service partners in connection with alleged irregularities with various Volkswagen-produced vehicles with an EA 189 diesel engine.
Florent’s practice, which is led by Yvette Borrius and Chris Jager, has expertise in cross-border commercial litigation, D&O liability litigation, commercial fraud and asset recovery litigation, and insolvency and restructuring-related disputes. Borrius is representing 15 former supervisory directors of a nursing home and healthcare and housing association group in a case pertaining to alleged financial mismanagement. Senior associate Karin Sixma joined from De Brauw Blackstone Westbroek in January 2018.
Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer
Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer’s team maintains a strong presence in mass litigation and financial litigation. Jeroen van Hezewijk is the recently appointed practice lead, and is representing ThyssenKrupp in a number of follow-on damage claims proceedings in the Netherlands and Belgium concerning elevators and escalators. Alongside Onno Brouwer, he is also acting for Shell before the District Court of The Hague in follow-on litigation brought by a construction company, following the decision of the European Commission in the Dutch bitumen cartel. Former practice lead Hub Harmeling retired.
Jones Day stands out for its 'communication and seamless cooperation between practices and countries' and is a popular choice for cross-border litigation. Group head Gerjanne te Winkel, who has ‘a great understanding of cases’, represented Fortuna Entertainment Group, a betting and gaming group, in a dispute before the Enterprise Chamber of the Amsterdam Court of Appeals brought by three Franklin Templeton investment funds. Coen Drion is 'an excellent lawyer and a good sparring partner for cassation cases'. Other clients include Brigade Capital Management, Trilantic Capital Management and Parem Financial.
Lexence’s team acts for large corporates in the telecoms, financials and insurance sectors, among others. Co-head Timo Jansen is acting for Vodafone in claims alleging anti-competitive behaviour against KPN. Fellow co-head Bram Thomas Craemer is representing Inreda Diabetics in a shareholder dispute.
Linklaters has a track record handling cartel litigation. ‘Go-to’ practice head Daniella Strik is defending Air France against Dutch law private claims based on the European Commission's decision in 2010 relating to an alleged air cargo cartel. Corporate and financial disputes are other areas of strength. Other clients include Royal Bank of Scotland, Unilever and Steinhoff.
Stek’s team remains a key name for antitrust litigation across the financial, travel, audit and energy sectors, among others. Co-heads Jan Bart van de Hel and Gerben Smit are acting for an Intertrust Group affiliate, as issuer of notes in a €635m transaction, in litigation against leading US hedge funds. Other clients include Stopanska Banka, Komercijalna Banka and KPMG. The team was bolstered by the arrival of senior associate Max Hetterscheidt from Allen & Overy LLP in February 2018 and Berend Reuder from Houthoff in August 2018.
AKD’s ‘hands-on’ and ‘outstanding’ practice ‘is really client focused’. Group head Patrick Haas is acting for various legal entities in attempts to shield the assets of Yukos Oil, which was expropriated by the Russian state, from actions on the part of alleged purchasers who bought the assets at fake auctions. Barend de Roy van Zuidewijn and of counsel Marc Goethals, who are acting in the bankruptcy proceedings of Atlantic Marine Services, are also names to note. Eric Koster has been promoted to junior partner.
The ‘patient and understanding’ team at Buren has developed its cross-border capability, especially in Asia, where it has strengthened its client base. Co-practice heads Damien Berkhout, who was a new arrival from Stibbe, and Philip W M ter Burg are defending Cathay Airways and Latham Airlines in several proceedings involving civil law antitrust follow-on damage claims, arising from EU Commission fines for cartel activity. Marc Velden van der and Jan Holthuis are also recommended. Nippon Suisan and BDO are other clients. Evert Jan van Drongelen is now with the Netherlands Public Prosecution Service.
Dentons’ team is 'pragmatic and effective with good experience'. Group head Michel Deckers ('calm and calculated and easy to work with') and recently promoted managing counsel Anouk Rosielle are acting as defence counsel to Citco, in the class action proceedings initiated by StichtingFairfield Compensation Foundation claiming damages from Citco for over 700 claimants in relation to the Madoff Ponzi-scheme. Marc Kuijper is 'strong on legal principles'. Femke Jorritsma has left to take up a judicial position.
Marc Wolters is the key contact for commercial litigation at Höcker Advocaten. He is representing a group of international investors whose assets were expropriated by the Dutch government in an action against the fourth largest bank and insurance company in the Netherlands, SNS Reaal. Koos van den Berg is representing environmental campaign group, Urgenda Foundation, in its legal action against the Dutch government, arguing that Dutch annual emission levels of greenhouse gasses are unduly high.