Outdoor Advertising Group JCDecaux in Victory Before Paris Court of Appeals

February 21, 2006

Cleary Gottlieb won a victory for JCDecaux before the Paris Court of Appeals, convincing the court to quash a decision by the French Competition Council and reduce the fine the Council imposed on JCDecaux from €10 million to €2 million. The decision was Cleary’s second major victory for JCDecaux since the company retained Cleary as new counsel before the Paris Court of Appeals.

The litigation stems from a 1998 ruling by the French Competition Council, finding that JCDecaux, a world-wide leader in outdoor advertising, had abused its dominant position in the French market for street furniture. In 2005, the Council ruled that several of the JCDecaux group’s companies had violated injunctions set forth in the 1998 ruling. The Council fined JCDecaux €10 million and issued an order requiring JCDecaux to report the decision to all French public, local or regional authorities — in effect the entire French political establishment.

JCDecaux retained Cleary Gottlieb to appeal this decision.

In its judgment, the Paris Court of Appeals cleared four of the five JCDecaux companies that were allegedly in violation of the 1998 injunctions. Cleary also persuaded the Paris Court of Appeals that the remaining company had complied with three of the four 1998 injunctions. Based on these findings, the court reduced the fine from €10 million to €2 million.

In September 2005, Cleary had earned an unprecedented summary judgment for JCDeceaux by persuading the Paris Court of Appeals to suspend the Competition Council’s expansive publication order.