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 1998 to 2006 by the state from purchases of computers and other goods containing the price-fixed screens. The suit seeks damages, restitution, and civil penalties on behalf of the state and by the state as parens patriae for its consumers. The lawsuit, filed in Superior Court in King County, Washington, 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. The suit also alleges fraudulent concealment. Defendants removed case to MDL in Northern District of California pursuant to CAFA, but it was remanded by the federal court.
After a decision by the Washington Court of Appeals upholding the state’s exercise of personal jurisdiction over the foreign corporations, the state reached settlements with the defendants totalling $63 million. Defendants also agreed to future monitoring and to implementing antitrust compliance programs.