Seven state attorneys general, including California’s, agreed to a half-billion dollar nationwide price-fixing settlement with makers of Liquid Crystal Displays used on flat screens for laptops, computer monitors and televisions.
California Attorney General Kamala Harris announced the $553 million pact Tuesday, settling a lawsuit filed against 10 companies in October 2010. The suit contends the 10 companies engaged in fixing the prices of LCD panels between 1999 and 2006, causing higher prices to California consumers, businesses and government agencies.
Seven companies reached an agreement committing to create a fund for consumers and businesses in 25 states, including California.
The defendants who agreed to settle 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 lawsuit was originally filed in San Francisco Superior Court and will continue against the remaining companies and subsidiaries; AU Optronics Corp. AU Optronics Corp. America, Inc., LG Display Co., LG Display America Inc., Toshiba Corp., Toshiba Mobile Display and Toshiba America Electronics Components, Inc.
This grows out of a 2008 case in which two companies, LG Display Co and LG Display America, pleaded guilty to federal price-fixing charges of LCD panels and paid $400 million in federal fines.
AU Optronics and its American arm, along with several employees, were indicted on federal price-fixing charges. Their trial will begin in January in federal court in San Francisco.
California consumers may actually get a piece of this compensation. The deal calls for a significant portion to go to consumers and government entities, but the percentage will be determined later. Consumers and businesses can file claims for monetary relief after the completion of the litigation. Information on filing a claim can be found at the AG’s website: www.oag.ca.gov.
The other participating states include: Arkansas, Florida, Michigan, Missouri, New York, West Virginia and Wisconsin, as well as private claimants in a federal case in San Francisco federal court.
Case: People of California v. AU Optronics Corp., No. CGC-10-504651