First targets for transatlantic claimant alliance are Sotheby's and Christies
Class Law has formed a special relationship with US firm Cohen Milstein Hausfeld & Toll. The link-up will make the London litigation specialist Cohen Milstein's first port of call for any UK or Europe-related work. Cohen Milstein is a 40-lawyer firm with offices in Washington DC, New York and Seattle. It has carved out a niche as a key protagonist in class actions, acting for claimants in cases concerning antitrust actions, product liability, civil rights and securities fraud. Class Law senior partner Stephen Alexander said: "We're delighted. Conversations have been going on for a month and it's a pleasure to have got things done so quickly. It's very exciting." The firms have formed a transatlantic association to undertake group and class actions on behalf of consumers and companies which have suffered financial loss and for which liability can be argued. Alexander said that there is a procession of cases coming and that the relationship gives both firms the opportunity to work jointly on matters where there is a cross-border element to the case. In a joint statement, the firms said: "Both law firms are acutely aware that, as a result of globalisation, illegal activity by multinational companies now affects people in many jurisdictions and, equally, that there needs to be a coordinated international response." The association has prompted Class Law's move into handling claims arising from anticompetitive behaviour. Following the prosecution of former Sotheby's chairman Alfred Taubman for price-fixing with Christie's in the 1990s, both auction houses could face a multimillion-pound action brought by buyers and sellers in the London market. Class Law and Cohen Milstein are acting for disaffected parties, including museums, charities and private individuals. Cohen Milstein was one of the US firms involved in the successful US group action. This claim settled last year with a $512m (£353m) payment by the two auction houses. Both firms are set to tackle some or all of the drug companies found guilty after a European Commission investigation into a global vitamin cartel.