Saturday, October 24, 2015 - The state of Oregon has asked a federal judge to approve a $21 million settlement proposal to end multidistrict litigation between the state and a number of companies that are allegedly a part of antitrust behavior involving LCD panels. The defendants are all LCD panel makers that allegedly conspired to fix the price of their products in attempt to stifle competition and charge customers rates for the LCDs at above market value.
Companies in the settlement proposal were assigned different amounts to pay as a part of the plan submitted to U.S. District Judge Susan Y. Illson. LG Display is on the hook for close to $7 million to be paid to the state of Oregon, Samsung is scheduled to pay $4.5 million, AU Optronics $4.25 million, Sharp $2 million, Chi Mei $1.6 million, HannStar $1 million, Hitachi Displays $565,400, Toshiba $525,000 and Epson $105,000. The payment of these proposed amounts would end the multidistrict litigation Oregon is currently a part of taking place in the Northern District of California federal court.
The lawsuits focus on the activities of the defendants in the time range of January 1, 2002 and December 11, 2006 when the plaintiffs claim that the LCD panel maker companies conspired to artificially raise the price of their LCD products. LCD products are found in a myriad of electronic devices, including televisions, laptops and cell phones, among a number of other popuar consumer products. Plaintiffs who purchased LCD products will be eligible for a cash return if the settlement proposal is accepted. Electronics regulators first discovered possible antitrust behaviors from the LCD manufacturers in 2006, and the lawsuits against the companies were quick to follow
Lawsuits from Arkansas, California, Florida, Michigan, Missouri, New York, West Virginia and Wisconsin are also a part of the multidistrict litigation that began in September of 2010. Oregon filed its lawsuit against the panel makers just a month before the lawsuits were consolidated. Many of the LCD cases in other states have already been settled and plaintiffs have received compensation as a result. Oregon is hoping to end its participation in the ongoing litigation by having their settlement proposal accepted by the judge.
The lawsuits have been brought on behalf of both direct and indirect purchasers of LCD products, however the Oregon lawsuits that are filing the settlement proposal are made up solely of indirect purchasers. The state of Oregon attorney general is representing the state and submitted the proposal to the U.S. District judge overseeing the proceedings. The state claims that it‘s $21 million settlement proposal is reasonable given prior evidence concerning the size of LCD settlements.
Some of the previous settlements reached have been far more wide-reaching than the current one proposed by the state of Oregon. AU Optronics, LG Display and Toshiba reached a combined settlement that reached over $500 million, and Samsung did the same with a settlement that reached over $500 for that company alone. A response from the judge concerning the fate of the settlement proposal is expected to come before the end of October.