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Breakthrough in Heros proceedings: CMS Hasche Sigle secures initial victories for claimants in Hanover

11/04/2008

In the "Heros Proceedings" Hanover Regional Court (13th Civil Panel) today pronounced its first decisions ordering Mannheimer Versicherung to pay compensation. The claimants are two companies represented by CMS Hasche Sigle. A team of lawyers from the CMS Hasche Sigle office in Hamburg, led by Dr Holger Kraft, Dr Markus Schöner and Dr Felix Rollin, is representing around 20 clients seeking compensation from Heros.

Cash transportation company Heros had insured its clients for embezzlement with Mannheimer Versicherung. In February 2006 Heros used cash collected from customers, which should have been credited to customers' accounts, to discharge its own liabilities. It had been following this practice for some time. The result: insolvency in 2006 with total losses of over EUR 400 million.

Mannheimer Versicherung has so far refused to pay and in 2007 contested the insurance policy on the grounds of alleged fraudulent misrepresentation on the part of Heros in 2001. Mannheimer Versicherung claims that in 2001 Heros should have disclosed previous instances of embezzlement.

CMS Hasche Sigle argued that the policy had not been validly contested, the reason being that in 2001 the parties had not concluded a new policy, and that hence no such policy could be contested by Mannheimer Versicherung. It went on to argue that insurance cover is provided under a single policy – despite the fact that that policy had been amended a number of times over the years. In its decisions the 13th civil panel upheld the view of CMS Hasche Sigle that customers were protected under the original policy and awarded two large chains payments of several hundred thousand euros.

CMS lawyers Kraft, Rollin and Schöner are optimistic about the overall outcome of the Heros proceedings: "These decisions are important milestones on the path towards an overall victory for the injured parties. Essentially the Court's decision is correct. Mannheimer Versicherung cannot insure Heros customers against embezzlement for over a decade, only to argue – once a claim has been made on the policy – that it is not liable by maintaining that the policy is invalid.


Contact CMS Hasche Sigle:

Dr Holger Kraft
Tel.: + (49) 40 37630-355
E-mail: [email protected]

Dr Markus Schöner
Tel.: +49 (0)40 3 76 30-3 65
E-mail: [email protected]

Dr Felix Rollin
Tel.: +49 (0)40 3 76 30-334
E-mail: [email protected]

Gabriela Freitag, press and publications
Tel.: +49 (0) 30 / 203 60- 1208
E-mail: [email protected]

About CMS Hasche Sigle

CMS Hasche Sigle is one of the leading German law firms with more than 500 lawyers. It covers the entire area of commercial law and provides legal advice to major German and international companies from a wide spectrum of industry. It has offices in Berlin, Cologne, Duesseldorf, Frankfurt, Hamburg, Leipzig, Munich, Stuttgart, Chemnitz, Dresden, Brussels, Belgrade, Moscow and Shanghai.

CMS Hasche Sigle is a partnership of lawyers and tax consultants; for register details / list of partners see www.cms-hs.com

CMS Hasche Sigle is a member of CMS, an alliance of leading independent European law firms. With over 595 partners, a total of 2,000 lawyers and tax consultants and around 4,200 support staff we advise our clients at commercial locations in 48 business centres in Europe and further afield on legal and tax issues.

In addition to CMS Hasche Sigle, the following firms are also members of the CMS alliance: CMS Adonnino Ascoli & Cavasola Scamoni (Italy), CMS Albiñana & Suárez de Lezo (Spain), CMS Bureau Francis Lefebvre (France), CMS Cameron McKenna LLP (Great Britain), CMS DeBacker (Belgium), CMS Derks Star Busmann (the Netherlands), CMS von Erlach Henrici (Switzerland) and CMS Reich-Rohrwig Hainz (Austria). CMS has 58 offices in 25 countries around the world.

For further information on CMS Hasche Sigle see www.cms-hs.com and on the CMS alliance see www.cmslegal.com.