California Lawyer magazine has selected Richard M. Heimann as a recipient of its 17th annual California Lawyer Attorneys of the Year (CLAY) Award. The prestigious award is given to lawyers whose work had a significant impact in the preceding year. Mr. Heimann was recognized for his outstanding success in In re TFT-LCD (Flat Panel) Antitrust Litigation, MDL No. 1827 (N.D. Cal.), one of the nation’s most significant private cartel actions in the past 15 years.
Mr. Heimann and Lieff Cabraser served as Co-Lead Counsel for direct purchasers of Thin Film Transistor Liquid Crystal Displays (“TFT-LCDs”) who charged that the world’s leading manufacturers of these products conspired to raise and fix prices for over a decade. TFT-LCDs are used in flat-panel televisions as well as computer monitors, laptop computers, mobile phones, personal digital assistants, and other devices.
Over the course of the litigation, the classes reached settlements with all defendants except Toshiba. The case against Toshiba proceeded to trial. In July 2012, the jury found that Toshiba participated in the price-fixing conspiracy. The case was subsequently settled, bringing the total settlements in the litigation to over $470 million.
The case constitutes one of the few antitrust class actions that have proceeded to trial and resulted in a plaintiffs’ verdict in the past decade.
Equally significant, while the underlying litigation developed out of an investigation by the Department of Justice, the Department of Justice chose not to criminally prosecute Toshiba. Lieff Cabraser and co-counsel investigated and uncovered the evidence necessary to prove Toshiba’s participation in the conspiracy. Discovery in the case spanned four years, and included depositions in Japan, South Korea and Taiwan and the review of documents in the Japanese, Korean, and Chinese languages.
As noted by the California Lawyer
Heimann and [co-counsel] won a jury verdict last year against Toshiba, even though evidence they brought was circumstantial and the defendant had never been accused of criminal wrongdoing. Their work created a roadmap for large-scale civil prosecution and restore the threat of trial in major antitrust class cases.