Plaintiff state filed an antitrust action against several major technology companies for
illegally fixing prices for liquid crystal display (“LCD”) screens used in computers, televisions, and cell phones. The lawsuit seeks to recover damages suffered from 1996 to 2006 by the state and other public purchasers – local governments, schools, hospitals, and colleges, among others – that purchased computers and other goods containing the price-fixed screens. The suit seeks damages, restitution, and civil penalties.
The lawsuit, filed in State Supreme Court in New York County, alleges that companies in Japan, Korea, and Taiwan, and their U.S. counterparts, engineered a cartel that dominated the $70 billion market for LCD screens for approximately a decade. The cartel ensured that LCD prices were set by detailed and explicit secret agreements among the competitors. Specifically, the lawsuit cites evidence that 1) Top-level executives, including CEOs, attended secret meetings on a regular monthly or quarterly basis to agree on minimum prices, price targets and increases, and prices to be charged to specific computer manufacturers; 2) Companies exchanged production information and agreed to certain output levels; and 3) In order to cover up the conspiracy, companies coordinated their messages to their customers and manipulated media announcements in order to give the false impression that their agreed upon price hikes were due to supply and demand conditions.
Consolidated with other litigation in an MDL in the Northern District of California. See Missouri v. AU Optronics.