Track record

Please find below an overview of some of the legal proceedings that we have been involved in as lawyers to one of the litigants. Most of the judgments rendered therein have been published on the judiciary’s website and can be downloaded via the links under the ECLI (European Case Law Identifier) numbers.

Financial Markets/corporate investigations: VEB vs. Fortis

We (Mr. Cornegoor and Mr. Hoff) have acted for the VEB (Dutch Association of Shareholders) against Ageas (formerly: Fortis), against banks that assisted with Fortis’s share issue in October 2007 and against former directors and policymakers of Fortis. As soon as Fortis was nationalized in October 2008, we submitted an application on the VEB’s behalf for an investigation. On 24 November 2008 (ref. no. ECLI:NL:GHAMS:2008:BG5150); JOR journal 2009/9), the Enterprise Chamber ordered an investigation of the policies and the course of events regarding the financing of Fortis’s participation in the takeover of ABN AMRO, regarding the various public statements issued by Fortis, and regarding the nationalization of Fortis.

 

High net worth individuals: Mrs. [X] vs. Family [Y] (East-Brabant District Court 11 February 2015 (ECLI:NL:RBOBR:2015:715) and Amsterdam Court of Appeals 25 November 2014 (ECLI:NL:GHAMS:2014:4859))

We (Mr. Hoff and Mrs. Hoogstraate) acted for Mrs. [X] in a dispute with family [Y]. In 2008, the husband of the client caused her to execute an hand-written, single-line agreement whereby she purchased certain shares from the [Y] family for a purchase price of € 10 million. Also under duress, during 2008 through 2012, she executed several further agreements, made payments and provided collateral. The [Y] family caused her utter financial ruin.

 

Professional liability: notary [X] vs. Rabo Vastgoedgroep and Cable Plus vs. Law firm [Y] (North Holland District Court 11 November 2015 (ECLI:NL:RBNHO:2015:9757) and Rotterdam District Court 24 June 2015 (ECLI:NL:RBROT:2015:5029))

Hoff Advocaten (Mr. Cornegoor) conducted the successful defense of a notary against a claim of € 19 million in the principal amount by Rabo Vastgoedgroep: the court agreed that the claimant had failed to demonstrate the causal link between the alleged malpractice and the damaged sustained. In the same year and after proceedings which required over a decade, we secured a substantial malpractice award against a well known Dutch law firm.

Unlawful publication: CoolCat vs. Algemeen Dagblad (Provisional Relief Proceedings of the Amsterdam District Court dated 11 February 2014 (ECLI:NL:RBAMS:2014:526))

On 25 November 2013, following an interview with Dutch Minister Ms. Lilianne Ploumen for Foreign Trade and Development Cooperation the Algemeen Dagblad (AD), a Dutch daily newspaper, published an article on its front page and website with the respective headings ‘Modewinkels op zwarte lijst’ (‘Fashion stores blacklisted’) (in the newspaper) and ‘Ploumen zet Coolcat, Wibra en Prénatal op zwarte lijst’ (‘Ploumen places CoolCat, Wibra and Prénatal on blacklist’) (on the website). The article insinuated that CoolCat has its clothing manufactured by companies that use child labour and whose exploited employees work in unsafe conditions .

 

Cartel damages (Central Netherlands District Court dated 27 November 2013 (ECLI:NL:RBMNE:2013:5978))

Mr. Cornegoor is currently acting in a number of pending proceedings seeking recovery of cartel damages , including losses arising from the lift and escalator cartel fined by the European Commission. The defendants’ motion to dismiss for lack of jurisdiction was dismissed by a ruling of the Central Netherlands District Court dated 27 November 2013. This case is one of the first cases submitted to a Dutch court that relates to cartel damages.

M&A disputes: Amodo Europe vs. ING Bank (Amsterdam Court of Appeals dated 6 November 2012 (ECLI:NL:GHAMS:2012:BY8291))

In late 2005, Amodo bought the company Arenda from ING Bank. Arenda specialized in the provision of consumer credit and was well-known to the general public under its brand name Vola. Immediately after the transaction, Arenda’s new business and results plummeted and it was established that ING Bank had failed to share essential information about Arenda’s (poor) financial condition with Amodo prior to the transaction (due diligence audit). We (Mr. Hoff) sued ING Bank on Amodo’s behalf on the grounds of fraud and breach of contract.

 

Sovereign litigants (The Hague District Court dated 2 May 2012 (ECLI:NL:RBSGR:2012:BW5493) and The Hague Court of Appeals dated 18 June 2013 (ECLI:NL:GHDHA:2013:1940))

Mr. Cornegoor acted for the defendants in a case relating to the setting aside of arbitral awards rendered between a North American oil company and a South American nation under a bilateral investment treaty. The claim was rejected by judgment of the The Hague District Court dated 2 May 2012 and the appeal was rejected judgment of the The Hague Court of Appeals dated 18 June 2013 (appeal in cassation meanwhile rejected as well). This is one of the first cases brought before the Dutch courts that relate to the interpretation of bilateral investment treaties.

Financial disputes: Bruscom vs. FC Den Bosch (Amsterdam Court of Appeals dated 24 January 2012 (ECLI:NL:GHAMS:2012:BV1361))

During the 1999/2000 soccer season, Bruscom had undertaken vis-à-vis the Dutch football club FC Den Bosch – which at the time was in severe financial difficulties – to compensate the operating deficit for the 1999/2000 season. Bruscom had lent FC Den Bosch considerable sums in order to improve the latter’s liquidity position. FC Den Bosch failed to repay these loans. In November 2000, FC Den Bosch initially became subject to a moratorium, being able to resume its activities as a professional soccer club once a voluntary arrangement had been agreed with creditors.

 

Financial disputes/interpretation of professional agreements: Homburg vs. Derksen (Netherlands Supreme Court dated 29 June 2007 (ECLI:NL:HR:2007:BA4909) and the Den Bosch Court of Appeals dated 22 February 2011 (ECLI:NL:GHSHE:2011:BP5651))

For a period of more than ten years, we (Mr. Hoff) acted for Homburg in a case that concerned the interpretation of a single provision in a settlement agreement. The Supreme Court accepted our argument that when a case revolves around a clause in a settlement agreement that has been entered into between two well-matched professional parties and which relates to a purely commercial transaction and where it has also been established that these parties were assisted by expert lawyers both before, during and after entering into the settlement agreement, then in principle the court must proceed on the basis of a linguistic interpretation of this settlement agreement.

 

Investigation proceedings: Veerkamp et al. vs. Amtrada Holding (Enterprise Section dated 14 February 2011 (ECLI:NL:GHAMS:2011:BP5179))

A group of minority shareholders (representing approximately 15% of the equity capital) found their holdings significantly diluted (to approximately 3%) as the result of a rescue operation under which the majority shareholder of Amtrada was able to use an equity issue to further consolidate its majority interest by contributing merely the nominal value of newly issued shares. On behalf of the group of minority shareholders, we (Mr. Hoff) submitted an application for a corporate investigation. The Enterprise Chamber allowed the application for an investigation and in doing so accepted our argument that there were valid reasons to doubt whether a commercial and fair consideration had really been stipulated for the equity issue.

 

Financial Markets: Investor X vs. Van Lanschot Bankiers bank (Netherlands Supreme Court dated 11 June 2010 (ECLI:NL:HR:2010:BL8297))

We (Mr. Hoff) successfully advanced the novel defense for F. van Lanschot Bankiers that an investor must complain expeditiously about an alleged shortcoming in the performance of an obligation by its bank on penalty of loss of rights (Article 6:89 of the Netherlands Civil Code)). The Supreme Court accepted that this defense exists in cases involving investment consultancy relationships.

Financial disputes: Provast vs. Rodamco (Judge in interlocutory proceedings of the Amsterdam District Court dated 24 April 2009 (ECLI:NL:RBAMS:2009:BJ8745))

Provast is the developer of the innovative ‘De Markthal’ covered market project in Rotterdam. In 2006, it entered into a heads of agreement with Rodamco under which Rodamco bought the commercial section of the covered market, including the market stalls and catering establishments. The arrangements made in this regard still had to be specified in detail in a further agreement.

 

Financial Markets: Dexia vs. customers

Mr. Cornegoor has defended and is defending the interests of Dexia, formerly one of the largest providers of securities leasing products, against claims made by buyers of such products on the grounds of violation of the duty of care and on other grounds. Mr. Cornegoor acted on Dexia’s behalf in the proceedings that resulted in the landmark judgments rendered by the Amsterdam Court of Appeals dated 1 December 2009 (ECLI:NL:GHAMS:2009:BK4978, 4981, 4982 and 4983; JOR journal 2011/66; appeal in cassation dismissed in judgments by the Supreme Court dated 29 April 2011; JOR journal 2011/190).

 

Financial Markets; Investor [Y] vs. Fortis bank

Mr. Cornegoor represented a high net-worth individual in a claim against his bank on the grounds that the bank had failed to give him sufficient warning of the risks associated with the concentration of his portfolio in a single fund. The ruling by the Amsterdam Court of Appeals dated 4 November 2008 (ECLI:NL:GHAMS:2008:BG4370, JOR 2009/15) allowed a key aspect of the claim, whereby the Court of Appeals applied the principle of proportional causation (Note that the ruling was reversed by the Supreme Court dated 24 December 2010 (ECLI:NL:HR:2010:BO1799; NJ 2011/251) and settled after being referred back).

Financial Markets; Van Boom & Slettenhaar vs. Mr. Bartels (Interlocutory judge of the Utrecht District Court dated 20 February 2008 (ECLI:NL:RBUTR:2008:BC4616))

The (now former) lawyer Mr. Bartels had rather rashly added the name of a real estate investment institution to a ‘draft list of potentially untrustworthy real estate investment funds’, because this institution was not prepared to undergo an evaluation by an interest group for investors that Mr. Bartels had set up himself. By instituting interim injunction proceedings, we (Mr. Hoff) were able to get the above institution’s name removed from the above list, the original addition of this name to the list by Mr. Bartels being manifestly wrongful. According to the Judge in interlocutory proceedings, the addition of this name to the list was both incorrect and unnecessarily harmful.

Miscellaneous: Pesofication

Mr. Cornegoor acted for a Dutch multinational in a dispute with a Chilean multinational that related to the consequences of the Argentinean currency reform of 2001 (known as the ‘pesofication’), which case was brought before courts in both Curaçao and the Netherlands. All claims have been dismissed in both jurisdictions (see for instance Haarlem District Court dated 30 May 2007, ECLI:NL:RBHAA:2007:BA7341; NJF 2007/356; other judgments have not been published).

Miscellaneous: Johan Cruyff vs. Colmar Group Spain (Interlocutory judge of the Amsterdam District Court dated 7 September 2006 (ECLI:NL:RBAMS:2006:AY7784))

Johan Cruyff’s name and likeness were still being used by the Mosa Trajectum sports park in Spain even though his contractual involvement with the park had terminated . This is why we (Mr. Hoff and Mrs. Hoogstraate), acting as lawyers for this football legend, succeeding in obtaining a ban on the further use of his name and likeness in connection with the project. Moreover, up to that time the project had remained completely unrealized.

Sovereign litigants: the Republic of Poland vs. Achmea

Mr. Cornegoor defended the Republic of Poland in connection with claims made by Achmea’s shareholders relating to the failed takeover of the Polish insurer PZU. The court accepted a motion to dismiss for lack of jurisdiction field by the defense. In Curaçao, Mr. Cornegoor has previously acted for sovereign clients , namely for the United States of America (see: Joint Court of Justice of the Netherlands Antilles and Aruba dated 2 May 2000 (NJ 2001/24)) and the Republic of Venezuela.

Antilles: Mullet Bay

Mr. Cornegoor acted for over 500 owners of apartments located at the Mullet Bay Resort on the Caribbean island of Saint Martin, which apartments had suffered serious hurricane damage, in a dispute with the resort’s developer in respect of the allocation of the insurance proceeds. After a favorable interlocutory judgment by the St. Martin court of first instance, the case was settled on terms favorable to our clients.

Settlements

A significant proportion of our cases ends in a settlement. In many cases, these settlements would not have been concluded without actual litigation or our threat to initiate it. In many cases, settlements include a confidentiality clause that we naturally respect. The mass media have devoted a fair amount of attention to the following settlements where we acted as lawyers for the first-named party: