A jury in the US District Court for the Northern District of California has found Toshiba guilty of LCD price fixing:
Lieff Cabraser Heimann & Bernstein, LLP and Pearson, Simon, Warshaw & Penny, LLP today announced that a federal court jury this morning found that Toshiba Corporation and its subsidiaries conspired with the world’s other leading manufacturers of Thin Film Transistor-Liquid Crystal Displays (“TFT-LCDs”) to raise and fix the prices of TFT-LCD panels and certain products. The jury awarded damages of $87 million. Federal antitrust law requires the trebling of these damages, resulting in a $261 million award against Toshiba.
Richard M. Heimann, co-lead counsel for plaintiffs, stated, “We are very pleased the jury found in favor of the plaintiffs and found that Toshiba violated the law, particularly in light of the government’s decision not to criminally prosecute Toshiba for its misconduct. The case demonstrates once again the critical role our civil justice system plays in holding corporations, no matter how powerful or where they are based in the world, accountable for violating U.S. antitrust laws.”
“There was strong evidence that Toshiba participated in the price-fixing conspiracy through communications with other TFT-LCD manufacturers, and that it received future pricing information from its competitors, shared its own future information, and was aware of its wrongdoing,” stated Bruce L. Simon, co-lead counsel for plaintiffs. “We are grateful for the jury’s service. The jury rejected Toshiba’s claim that it had done nothing wrong, and this is one of the few antitrust class actions ever tried to a successful verdict.”
About the LCDs Antitrust Litigation
TFT-LCDs are used in flat-panel televisions as well as computer monitors, laptop computers, mobile phones, personal digital assistants, and other devices. Plaintiffs charge that defendants conspired to raise and fix the prices of TFT-LCD panels and certain products containing those panels for over a decade.
Previously in the class action litigation, entitled In re TFT-LCD (Flat Panel) Antitrust Litigation, MDL No. 1827 (N.D. Cal.), the Court certified two nationwide classes of persons and entities that directly purchased TFT-LCDs from January 1, 1999 through December 31, 2006, one class of panel purchasers, and one class of class of buyers of laptop computers, computer monitors, and televisions that contained TFT-LCDs.
The classes reached settlements with ten other defendant manufacturers for a combined value of $430 million. Toshiba was the only defendant to proceed to trial. Lieff Cabraser serves as court-appointed Co-Lead Counsel for direct purchasers in the litigation.
And here's Toshiba's response to the verdict:
Toshiba Corporation (Toshiba) and its subsidiary, Toshiba America Electronic Components, Inc. (TAEC), announced today that a jury in the United States District Court for the Northern District of California (San Francisco) has issued a verdict against Toshiba in the amount of US$87 million due to alleged antitrust practices in the LCD business. Given credits for settlements by other defendants, Toshiba expects that it will not have to pay any damages as a result of this verdict, even after trebling under U.S. antitrust laws.
This class action was filed in 2007 by direct purchasers of LCD panels and related products in the United States.
Toshiba has consistently maintained that there was no illegal activity on its part in the LCD business in the United States, and Toshiba continues to hold that view. While Toshiba appreciates the jury's time and effort, Toshiba believes that the jury's verdict is in error as to the finding of wrongdoing on Toshiba's part. Toshiba plans to pursue all available legal avenues to correct that finding.
At this time, Toshiba does not plan to revise projections for fiscal 2012 business performance due to this matter.