Fla. AG sues ODD maker over alleged price-fixing

By Bryan Cohen | Apr 26, 2013

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (Legal Newsline) -- Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi on Thursday announced a lawsuit against an optical disc drive maker that allegedly engaged in price-fixing.

Hitachi-LG Data Storage Inc. and its subsidiary, Hitachi-LG Data Storage Korea Inc., allegedly participated in communications, discussions and meetings to share competitively sensitive information like production, sales, pricing and bidding information.

Hitachi-LG Data Storage allegedly shared the information to rig bids for ODDs sold to Hewlett-Packard Company, Dell Inc. and Microsoft Corporation.

"Price-fixing hurts healthy business competition and costs Florida's businesses, consumers and governmental agencies by requiring them to pay higher prices for products," Bondi said in a statement.

"My office is committed to protecting Floridians, and we will work to obtain relief for those affected by this alleged price-fixing scheme."

The U.S. Department of Justice charged Hitachi-LG Data Storage Inc. with a 15-count felony charge in federal court in San Francisco in September 2011. The defendant paid a $21.1 million criminal fine and pleaded guilty to price-fixing and bid-rigging of ODDs.

Bondi's lawsuit seeks equitable relief, civil penalties and damages for Florida businesses, consumers and governmental entities.

The attorney general's lawsuit alleges that other companies took part as co-conspirators in the price fixing conspiracy, including Quanta Storage America Inc., Quanta Storage Inc., TEAC America Inc., TEAC Corporation, Panasonic Corporation of North America, Panasonic Corporation, Toshiba Samsung Storage Technology Corporation, Toshiba Samsung Storage Technology Corporation Korea, Toshiba Corporation, Samsung Electronics Co. Ltd., Sony Optiarc America Inc., Sony Optiarc Inc., Sony NEC Optiarc Inc., NEC Corporation, Sony Corporation, Philips & Lite-On Digital Solutions USA Inc., Philips & Lite-On Digital Solutions Corporation, Lite-On IT Corporation, Koninklijke Philips Electronics N.V., BenQ America Corporation, BenQ Corporation, LG Electronics Inc. and Hitachi Ltd.

ODDs are used to record and read data on optical discs like DVDs and CDs. The devices are found in computers, video game consoles and as external attachments to computers.

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