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From Antitrust Law Daily, October 24, 2014

Jury awards Costco $37M in TFT-LCD price-fixing action

By Linda O’Brien, J.D., LL.M.

Following a trial in the federal district court in Seattle, a jury has awarded retailer Costco $37 million on its price fixing claims against manufacturers of thin-film transistor liquid crystal display panels (Costco Wholesale Corporation v. AU Optronics Corporation, October 23, 2014, Jones, R.).

A series of class action suits were filed against manufacturer AU Optronics Corporation, its subsidiary, AU Optronics Corporation America, and other manufacturers for allegedly engaging in a conspiracy to fix the prices of thin-film transistor liquid crystal display (TFT-LCDs) panels that were incorporated into LCD products sold throughout the United States. Retailer Costco indirectly purchased LCD panels by buying finished products containing the panels from a number of different vendors. It had opted out of participation in a class of direct purchasers.

After a trial, a jury found that numerous electronics companies, such as AU Optronics, were members of a global conspiracy to fix prices of TFT-LCD panels. The jury determined that Costco established damages as a result of the conspiracy from the following six vendors: Samsung Electronics America, Inc. ($2,876,830); Sharp Electronics Corporation ($12,142,460); Toshiba America Consumer Products ($9,122,300); Toshiba America Information Systems ($7,347,670); Philips Electronics North America Corp. ($4,421,560); and Panasonic Corporation of North America ($662,860).

The case is No. 2:13-cv-01207.

Attorneys: Cori Gordon Moore (Perkins Coie) for Costco Wholesale Corp. Carl L. Blumenstein (Nossaman LLP) for Au Optronics Corp., and Au Optronics Corporation America. Allison B. Stein (Munger Tolles & Olson) for LG Display Company, Ltd., and LG Display America Inc.

Companies: Costco Wholesale Corp.; Au Optronics Corp.; Au Optronics Corporation America; LG Display Company, Ltd.; LG Display America Inc.

MainStory: TopStory Antitrust WashingtonNews

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