Leading Manufacturers of Liquid Crystal Displays Operated a Global Cartel to Fix Prices for Over a Decade

BusinessWire

November 12, 2007

Class Counsel Announce Filing of Consolidated Complaint Charging Leading Manufacturers of Liquid Crystal Displays Operated a Global Cartel to Fix Prices for Over a Decade

SAN FRANCISCO--Class counsel for businesses and individuals that purchased Thin Film Transistor Liquid Crystal Display (TFT-LCD) products directly from manufacturers announced that last week plaintiffs filed a consolidated class action complaint charging defendants with operating a global cartel to fix the prices of LCDs sold in the United States.

"After initial introduction, components for consumer electronics products are typically characterized by downward pricing trends," stated plaintiffs"' counsel Richard M. Heimann of Lieff Cabraser Heimann & Bernstein, LLP. "This has not always been the case with TFT-LCDs. For the past decade, we have seen price manipulation including periods of substantial price increases. Amongst the reasons for this are that the top manufacturers agreed to fix and maintain prices and to restrict supply."

"Despite the enormous size of the TFT-LCD industry, over $100 billion, a small group of corporations dominate it and control the price of TFT-LCDs," explained plaintiffs"' counsel Bruce L. Simon of Pearson Simon Soter Warshaw & Penny, LLP. "Repeatedly these corporations have asserted that a shortage of manufacturing capacity has been the cause of TFT-LCD price increases. Any such shortages, plaintiffs allege, were the result of collusion among defendants to restrict output and artificially increase prices."

Background on the Litigation

Richard M. Heimann of Lieff Cabraser Heimann & Bernstein, LLP, and Bruce L. Simon of Pearson Simon Soter Warshaw & Penny, LLP serve as Court-appointed Interim Co-Lead Counsel in a class action lawsuit against the world's leading manufacturers of Thin Film Transistor Liquid Crystal Displays (TFT-LCDs) and products incorporating TFT-LCDs.

TFT-LCDs are used in flat-panel televisions as well as computer monitors, laptop computers, mobile phones, personal digital assistants, and other devices. Plaintiffs, who directly purchased TFT-LCDs from one or more of the named defendants, allege defendants fixed the prices of the TFT LCDs, causing plaintiffs to pay more than they should have. The defendants include multinational electronics conglomerates Hitachi, LG.Philips, Samsung, Sharp and Toshiba.

Plaintiffs specifically allege that defendants operated a cartel, the purpose of which was to raise, fix, and stabilize the prices of TFT-LCDs by:

  • participating in meetings and conversations, including through various trade associations and committees, to discuss the prices of TFT-LCD Products sold in the United States;
  • agreeing during these meetings and conversations to charge prices at specified levels and otherwise to increase and maintain prices of TFT-LCD Products sold in the United States;
  • entering into illegal agreements to restrict the production of LCDs in order to artificially raise price; and
  • selling TFT-LCD Products to various customers in the United States at supra-competitive prices.

Proposed Class

Plaintiffs seek to represent the following class of businesses and individuals:

All persons and entities who, between January 1, 1996 and December 11, 2006, directly purchased a TFT-LCD Product in the United States from any defendant or any subsidiary or affiliate thereof, or any co-conspirator. Excluded from the Class are defendants, their parent companies, subsidiaries and affiliates, any co-conspirators, all governmental entities, and any judges or justices assigned to hear any aspect of this action.

Contact Class Counsel

Antitrust laws are designed to protect the economy and to promote competition among businesses by prohibiting price-fixing and other forms of anticompetitive conduct.

Individuals, businesses, public agencies and other entities that have purchased TFT LCDs or products incorporating TFT LCDs are welcome to contact plaintiffs' counsel. Learning of your experience in purchasing these products will assist us in prosecuting the litigation. We will review your claim without charge or obligation. You may contact Lieff Cabraser partner Eric B. Fastiff at 1-800-541-7358 or at efastiff@lchb.com or Pearson Simon attorney Esther L. Klisura at 1-415-433-9000 or at eklisura@psswplaw.com.

About Lieff Cabraser

Lieff Cabraser Heimann & Bernstein, LLP is a fifty-plus attorney law firm with offices in San Francisco, New York and Nashville. The firm represents businesses, governments and individuals as plaintiffs in class and group actions as well as in individual lawsuits in cases involving substantial losses. Since 2003, the National Law Journal has annually selected Lieff Cabraser as one of the top plaintiffs' law firms in the nation.

Lieff Cabraser has played a prominent role in federal litigation under the Sherman Act on behalf of businesses in numerous markets including computer components, prescription drugs, polypropylene carpets, compact discs, credit cards, linerboard, carbon fiber, plastic laminates, flat glass, industrial pigments and vitamins. The firm has also successfully litigated antitrust claims against Microsoft Corporation for monopolistic practices, and achieved record recoveries against El Paso Gas Co. and wholesale electric companies for allegedly manipulating the price of energy in California.

About Pearson Simon

Pearson Simon Soter Warshaw & Penny, LLP is a nationally recognized law firm with offices in Los Angeles and San Francisco. Pearson Simon has expertise in complex cases, including representing plaintiffs in antitrust class actions. The firm understands how to litigate difficult and large cases in an efficient and cost effective manner, and it has used these skills to obtain outstanding results for clients, both through trial and negotiated settlement.

Pearson Simon's attorneys have been involved in numerous national and multi-national cases of public importance. Named partner Bruce L. Simon has held leadership roles in many major antitrust cases that have resulted in hundreds of millions of dollars in recovery to consumers, including In re Dynamic Random Access Memory (DRAM) Antitrust Litigation (over $325 million in settlements), In re Methionine Antitrust Litigation (over $100 million in settlements), and In re Citric Acid Antitrust Litigation (over $80 million in settlements) to name a few. Learn more at www.psswplaw.com.

Contacts

Lieff Cabraser Heimann & Bernstein, LLP
Richard M. Heimann, 415-956-1000
or
Pearson Simon Soter Warshaw & Penny, LLP
Bruce L. Simon, 415-433-9000

"One of the nation's premier plaintiffs' firms." American Lawyer

"Representing the best qualities of the plaintiffs' bar." The National Law Journal