December 30, 2011 > Half billion dollar nationwide settlement over price-fixing scheme
Half billion dollar nationwide settlement over price-fixing scheme
Submitted By Office of the Attorney General
California Attorney General Kamala D. Harris and the offices of seven other attorneys general have reached a $553M settlement with manufacturers that engaged in price fixing of flat screen LCD (Liquid Crystal Display) panels found in monitors, laptops and televisions.
In October 2010, Harris filed a lawsuit against 10 companies for engaging in price fixing of LCD panels from 1999 to 2006 that resulted in higher prices for California residents, businesses and government agencies.
The settlements, announced on December 27, 2011, resolve Harris' claims against seven companies, and those of the seven other attorneys general and a national class action. Part of the settlements requires the culpable companies to provide a fund for consumers and businesses in 25 states, including California. These companies have also resolved claims brought by Harris for civil penalties under California's Unfair Competition Law, as well as restitution for government agencies that purchased the flat screen LCD panels.
Harris is joined in these settlements by the attorneys general of Arkansas, Florida, Michigan, Missouri, New York, West Virginia and Wisconsin, as well as a class action brought on behalf of private claimants in the United States District Court for the Northern District of California.
Settling defendants include Chimei Innolux Corp., Chi Mei Optoelectronics USA, Inc., Chi Mei Optoelectronics Japan Co., Ltd, HannStar Display Corporation, Hitachi, Ltd., Hitachi Displays, Ltd., Hitachi Electronic Devices, USA, Inc., Samsung Electronics, Co., Ltd., Samsung Electronics America, Inc., Samsung Semiconductor, Inc., Sharp Corporation and Sharp Electronics Corporation.
The California case was originally filed in San Francisco Superior Court, where litigation continues against AU Optronics Corporation, AU Optronics Corporation America, Inc., LG Display Co., Ltd., LG Display America, Inc., Toshiba Corporation, Toshiba Mobile Display Co., Ltd. and Toshiba America Electronics Components, Inc.
In 2008, two companies - LG Display Co., Ltd. and LG Display America, Inc. - pleaded guilty to federal charges for price fixing TFT-LCD panels and paid $400M in federal fines. Defendants AU Optronics Corporation and AU Optronics Corporation America, along with several employees, have been indicted on federal charges of price fixing. The criminal trial is scheduled for January 2012 in the United States District Court for the Northern District of California.
California consumers and government entities will receive a significant portion of the $553M settlement, with an exact percentage to be determined. Following completion of the litigation, California consumers and businesses can file claims for monetary relief.
Information about how to file a claim will be available at www.oag.ca.gov or by calling 800-952-5225.