[AG Kamala Harris] – Attorney General Kamala D. Harris announced Thursday that her office, along with the offices of seven other attorneys general, has reached settlements totaling $571 million with three manufacturers that engaged in price fixing of flat screen LCD (Liquid Crystal Display) panels found in monitors, laptops and televisions.
The settlements announced today apply to Toshiba Corp.; LG Display Co., Ltd.; and AU Optronics Corporation (and several subsidiaries), which have collectively agreed to pay $543.5 million toward damages claims, plus $27.5 million in civil penalties. This follows $538.5 million in settlements reached in December 2011 with seven leading LCD manufacturers, plus $14.7 million in civil penalties, bringing the total recovery to more than $1.1 billion, which will be divided among twenty-four states and the District of Columbia.
“The price-fixing by these ten companies broke the law and short-changed California consumers,” said Attorney General Harris. “This settlement brings justice to our consumers, protects companies that follow the law, and ends the pernicious practice of price-fixing by these manufacturers.”
In October 2010, the Attorney General’s office filed a lawsuit against ten companies for engaging in price fixing of LCD panels from 1999 to 2006 that resulted in higher prices for California residents and businesses, as well as government agencies.
As part of the settlements, the ten companies that engaged in price fixing will provide a fund for injured consumers and businesses. The settling companies have also resolved claims brought by Attorney General Harris for civil penalties under California’s Unfair Competition Law, as well as restitution for government agencies that purchased products containing the flat screen LCD panels.
Attorney General 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.
The three defendants who settled today join the seven who settled in December, which included 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 Attorney General’s case was originally filed in San Francisco Superior Court.
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 $400 million in federal fines. Defendants AU Optronics Corporation and AU Optronics Corporation America, along with several employees, were convicted on federal charges of price fixing in March 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 more than $1 billion settlements, with an exact percentage to be determined in coming months. 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 the Attorney General’s website or at www.lcdclass.org.