After Hitachi-LG Data Storage, Inc. was charged with a 15-count felony charge by the United States Department of Justice, pleaded guilty to bid-rigging and price-fixing of Optical Disc Drives (ODDs) and paid a $21.1 million criminal fine, Florida filed suit. The suit alleged that Hitachi-LG Data Storage, Inc. and its subsidiary, Hitachi-LG Data Storage Korea, Inc., participated in meetings, discussions, and communications to share competitively sensitive information, in order to rig bids for ODDs sold to Dell Inc., Hewlett-Packard Company, and Microsoft Corporation. The state is seeking equitable relief, damages, and civil penalties for Florida consumers, businesses, and governmental entities.
State filed suit (simultaneous with USDOJ suit) alleging EBay and Intuit agreed from 2008 to 2009 not to hire one another’s employees. This agreement, allegedly enforced at the highest levels in the companies, prevented employees from seeking positions at the other companies. USDOJ filed a separate suit, but California’s seeks to enforce California laws which contain stronger protections against anti-competitive conduct than federal law. California reached a settlement with eBay for approximately $4 million in restitution to employees, damages for harm to the state’s economy, and civil penalties
TTexas and Connecticut led 33 state group that filed complaint charging three of the nation’s largest book publishers and Apple Inc. with colluding to fix the sales prices of electronic books. The States undertook a two-year investigation into allegations that the defendants conspired to raise e-book prices. Retailers had long sold e-books through a traditional wholesale distribution model, under which retailers, not publishers, set e-book sales prices. The states alleged that Penguin, Simon & Schuster and Macmillan conspired with other publishers and Apple to artificially raise prices by imposing a distribution model in which the publishers set the prices for bestsellers at $12.99 and $14.99. When Apple prepared to enter the e-book market, the publishers and Apple agreed to adopt an agency distribution model as a mechanism to allow them to fix prices. To enforce their price-fixing scheme, the publishers and Apple relied on contract terms that forced all e-book outlets to sell their products at the same price. Because the publishers agreed to use the same prices, retail price competition was eliminated. According to the States’ enforcement action, the coordinated agreement to fix prices resulted in e-book customers paying more than $100 million in overcharges. The States’ antitrust action seeks injunctive relief, damages for customers who paid artificially inflated prices for e-books and civil penalties. Case was filed in W.D. Tex., transferred to S.D.N.Y. as consolidated case. The States reached settlements with the five publishers, which granted E-book outlets greater freedom to reduce the prices of their E-book titles. Consumers nationwide received a total of $164 million in compensation. After entering into settlement agreement with all the Defendant publishers, DOJ and the states had a nearly 3 week trial against Apple in June 2013, during which numerous witnesses took the stand. On July 10, 2013, a decision was handed down in favor of the U.S. Department of Justice and the states against Apple. Trial of the damages phase is pending. United States et al. v. Apple, Inc., 12-CV-2826 (S.D.N.Y.).
Starting in 2008, the states investigated the municipal bond derivatives market, where tax exempt entities like governments and nonprofit organizations issue bonds and reinvest the proceeds until the funds are needed or enter into contracts to hedge interest rate risk on bonds. GE Funding is the fifth financial institution to settle with the multistate working group in the ongoing municipal bond derivatives investigation following Bank of America, UBS AG, JP Morgan and Wachovia.
The investigation revealed conspiratorial and fraudulent conduct involving individuals at financial institutions and certain brokers with whom they had working relationships. The states’ investigation developed evidence that certain traders at GE Funding, in concert with certain brokers, engaged in conduct that allowed the broker to determine in advance that GE Funding would win a bid for a guaranteed investment contract. The conduct allowed GE Funding to submit a “last look’’ bid, while the broker arranged for other financial institutions to submit purposely non-winning courtesy bids. Because of the “last look,” on many occasions GE Funding was able to lower its bid to the issuer and still win the transaction.The misconduct led state and local entities, such as municipalities, counties, school districts and other government agencies, as well as nonprofits, to enter into municipal derivatives contracts on less advantageous terms than they would have otherwise.
Starting in 2008, the states investigated the municipal bond derivatives market, where tax exempt entities like governments and nonprofit organizations issue bonds and reinvest the proceeds until the funds are needed or enter into contracts to hedge interest rate risk on bonds.
The investigation revealed conspiratorial and fraudulent conduct involving individuals at JPMC, other financial institutions, and certain brokers with whom they had working relationships. The states alleged that certain JPMC employees and their counterparts at other institutions rigged bids, submitted noncompetitive courtesy bids and fraudulent certificates of arms-length bidding to government agencies. The misconduct led state and local entities, such as municipalities, counties, school districts and other government agencies, as well as nonprofits, to enter into municipal derivatives contracts on less advantageous terms than they would have otherwise. The $66.5 million multistate settlement is one component of a coordinated settlements (totaling $92 million) between JPMC and the U.S. Department of Justice’s Antitrust Division, the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), the Internal Revenue Service, the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency (OCC), as well as the states.
People of the State of California v. AU Optronics Corp., No. CGC-10-504651 (Super. Ct. San. Fran. Cty. 2010)
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 Washington and other public purchasers that purchased computers and other goods containing the price-fixed screens. The suit seeks damages, restitution, and civil penalties on behalf of the state and as parens patriae for state consumers.
State sued and entered into settlement with Bioelements, a maker of “cosmeceuticals” for skin care. Bioelements had entered into agreements with retailers fixing the prices at which Bioelements products could be sold on the Internet. Settlement enjoined the conduct and Bioelements paid $51,000 in civil penalties and attorneys fees.
Following guilty pleas to criminal price-fixing by several LCD manufacturers, and a conviction after trial of another, plaintiff states filed suit against LCD manufacturers, alleging that top executives of several companies held numerous secret meetings from at least 1999 through at least 2006 for the purpose of exchanging information and setting prices on LCD panels. According to the complaint, companies such as Dell, Apple, and Hewlett Packard were among those targeted by the manufacturers’ price-fixing scheme. According to the lawsuit, the illegal overcharges were ultimately borne by state consumers and state government purchasers. The suit also alleges fraudulent concealment of the conspiracy. The lawsuit seeks monetary damages, civil penalties and injunctive relief under the Sherman Act and state antitrust statutes. The first settlement covered Chimei Innolux, Chimei Optoelectronics, Hannstar, Hitachi, Samsung, and Sharp and their subsidiaries. The second settlement, for $543.5 million, was with AU Optronics, Toshiba and LG Display and subsidiaries.
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 Washington and other public purchasers that purchased computers and other goods containing the price-fixed screens. The suit seeks damages, restitution, and civil penalties on behalf of the state and as parens patriae for state consumers.
After decisions declining to allow the defendants to remove the cases to federal court under CAFA, and affirming the state’s jurisdiction over foreign corporations, the state reached settlements with the defendants totalling $63 million. Defendants also agreed to future monitoring and to implementing antitrust compliance programs.
Plaintiff state filed suit against the world’s largest manufacturers of thin-film transistor
liquid crystal display panels, or “TFT-LCD panels,” alleging the companies conspired
to fix the prices of their products. The civil lawsuit, filed in federal district court in California, alleges that the defendants conspired to prevent competition and to increase prices for TFT-LCD panels, the most common form of LCD panels used in popular electronic devices such as desktop monitors, laptop screens, and flat panel televisions.
The state alleges that the defendants organized the conspiracy at the highest level of their organizations in various secret meetings and telephone conversations over a period of years. The United States Department of Justice has indicted a number of the defendants and their employees in the same federal court, resulting in more than $890 million in criminal fines. The lawsuit also alleges fraudulent concealment of the conspiracy. claims the companies violated the Florida Antitrust Act, the Sherman Act, and the Florida Deceptive and Unfair Trade Practices Act, and seeks injunctive relief, treble damages, restitution and/or disgorgement, civil penalties and costs.