Appeals Delaying TFT-LCD Antitrust Settlements Mean Longer Waiting Time for Attorneys

Cresskill, NJ: Objections filed against the largest price fixing antitrust settlement in history are delaying payouts to plaintiffs and their attorneys. It has been more than six years since the United States, Japan, Korea, and the European Union announced in December 2006 that it was investigating anti-competitive activity among LCD panel manufacturers. The case was finally settled for $1.1 billion. Yet attorneys representing plaintiffs in the case now face further delays in receiving their share of the settlement. To assist cash-strapped LCD plaintiffs’ attorneys, RD Legal Funding, LLC (“RD Legal”) is making post-settlement financing immediately available.

LCD settlement checks were expected to go out in May. However, due to recent objections, funds cannot be distributed until after appeals are filed — a process which can take years. Plaintiffs’ attorneys in the original settlement are planning to file motions shortly attacking the appeals. While the nature of the objections is not yet known, it is possible that they are directed at the 28 percent of the settlement going to attorneys' fees. If that is the case, plaintiffs’ attorneys will ask the judge to release the plaintiffs’ payments but hold on to the attorneys’ fees until the appeals are resolved.

Asian TFT-LCD panel manufacturers were charged with conspiring to violate U.S. anti-trust laws, driving up prices, and reducing the availability of the products used in televisions, computers, and other digital devices between 1996 and 2006 [In RE TFT-LCD Antitrust Litigation, 07-01827, U.S. District Court, Northern District of California (San Francisco)]. The Department of Justice (DOJ) charged AU Optronics (AUO) Taiwan and its US subsidiary with conspiring to fix prices world-wide for TFT-LCD panels at secret monthly meetings in Taiwan hotels, karaoke bars, and tea rooms with co-conspirators including LG Philips, Samsung, Chunghwa, Chi Mei, and HannStar. AUO chose to test the Antitrust Division's case rather than plead guilty. In September 2012, AU Optronics was found guilty and fined $500 million. AU Optronics, Toshiba, and LG agreed to pay a combined $571 million settlement in one of the class action lawsuits filed by customers, retailers, and consumers. Other manufacturers including Hitachi, Sharp, and Samsung, agreed in December 2011 to pay $538 million to settle their suits. Toshiba still denies any wrongdoing.

Between 1996 and 2006, the conspirators sold $71.9 billion in price-fixed panels worldwide. U.S. companies that used the panels in their products, distributors, and consumers purchased at least $23.5 billion-worth of the panels, overpaying by billions of dollars.

Consumers in 24 states are waiting for their settlement checks. Depending on the validity of the appeals, distribution could happen in as soon as three months or as long as three years. Worldwide, since 2011, over 9.4 billion electronic devices using LCD technology have been in use, more than the world population of 7 billion.

For more information about post-settlement financing, TFT-LCD Antitrust Litigation attorneys should contact RD Legal at 1-800-565-5177 or fill out the quick form at the top of this page to start the application process. Founded in 1998, RD Legal is now one of the nation's leading providers of attorney fee funding.