In re J.P. Morgan Chase (Municipal Bond Derivatives)

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.

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People of the State of California v. Bioelements, Inc.

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.

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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.

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Washington v. AU Optronics, No. 10-2-29164-4 (Super. Ct., King 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.
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.

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Missouri v. AU Optronics Corp., (N.D. Cal. pending transfer to MDL 1827, 2010)

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.

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New York v. AU Optronics

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 New
York 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. Consolidated with other litigation in an MDL in the Northern District of California. See Missouri v. AU Optronics

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Florida v. AU Optronics

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.

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New York v. Long Island Taxi and Transportation Owners Ass’n, No. 88-1089 (E.D.N.Y. 1989)

State sued business and individual defendants, alleging fixing of prices on spaces for taxicabs at rail stations on Long Island; fixing rates on taxi services; rigging bids on contracts for taxi services and allocating territories among themselves. Settlement included injunctive relief and $10,000 civil penalty for each business defendant.

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Mississippi v. Entergy, No. C-2008-2086 (Chan. Ct. Hinds Cty. Miss. 2008)

State filed suit against Entergy, an electricity provider regulated by the state PSC, alleging that Entergy violated its duty to Mississippi customers under the PSC’s rules by charging higher prices for electricity in Mississippi than in other states, with no justification in costs. The case alleged violations of the state’s consumer protection act, fraud and unjust enrichment, as well as one antitrust claim, alleging restraint of trade on the production of electricity and that Entergy engrossed and forestalled electricity markets in the state.

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Colorado v. Ladley

Plaintiff state alleged that five auto body shops in Boulder Colorado conspired to fix the price of auto body repairs. Four defendants paid $59,500 in civil penalties, attorneys fees and costs. One defendant (Hutsell) paid nothing.

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