State AGs reach $538.5M settlement over LCD panels

By Bryan Cohen | Dec 27, 2011


WASHINGTON (Legal Newsline) - Eight state attorneys general announced a multi-state $538.5 million settlement on Tuesday with the sellers and manufacturers of thin film transistor liquid crystal display panels.

The defendants allegedly conspired to prevent competition and to increase TFT-LCD panel prices. TFT-LCD panels are the most common form of LCD panels used in electronic devices, such as flat panel televisions, laptop screens and desktop monitors.

"Price-fixing is detrimental to Florida's consumers, governmental agencies, and the economy," Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi said. "I am pleased that we will be able to return funds to those who were harmed by this illegal and deceptive behavior."

The complaint alleged that the defendants organized the conspiracy at the top levels of their organization through secret meetings and telephone conversations. A number of the defendants and their employees have also pleaded guilty to federal charges. The litigation will continue against defendants that have not settled, including well-known electronic goods manufacturers Toshiba, AU Optronics and LG.

All of the defendants that settled must promise to cooperate fully against the remaining defendants. The settlements require the defendants that have settled to establish antitrust compliance and reporting programs.

The states involved in the settlement include Florida, Wisconsin, California, West Virginia, Arkansas, Missouri, Michigan and New York.

The defendants include electronic good manufacturers AU Optronics Corporation, AU Optronics Corporation America, Chimei Innolux Corp., CMO Japan Co. Ltd., Chi Mei Optoelectronics USA Inc., HannStar Display Corporation, Hitachi Ltd., Hitachi Displays Ltd., Hitachi Electronic Devices (USA) Inc., LG Display Co. Ltd., LG Display America Inc., Samsung Electronics Co. Ltd., Samsung Electronics America Inc., Samsung Semiconductor Inc., Sharp Corporation, Sharp Electronics Corporation, Toshiba Corporation, Toshiba Mobile Display Technology Co. Ltd., Toshiba America Information Systems Inc., and Toshiba America Electronics Components Inc.

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