Consumers have until April 13 to opt out or object to the proposed $538.5 million price-fixing settlements with seven manufacturers and sellers of liquid crystal displays, the Florida Attorney General's Office announced Thursday.
Those who don't wish to be part of the settlements have the right to sue the defendants on their own. A federal court will hold a hearing May 18 on whether to approve the settlements.
The settlements affect Florida businesses and consumers that bought televisions, monitors and laptop computers containing the TFT-LCD panels.
Those who indirectly bought such equipment from Jan. 1, 1999, to Dec. 31, 2006, from one of the defendants or Quanta Display Inc. "for their own use and not for resale," qualify to be part of the settlement, said Jenn Meale, communications director for the Florida Attorney General's Office.
People who bought the LCD panels in the District of Columbia and the 23 other states who are participating in the class-action suit are also eligible, Meale said.
Florida and the other states reached the settlements after alleging that the companies conspired to prevent competition and increase prices of the LCD panels.
Without admitting guilt, Samsung Electronic has agreed to pay $240 million, Sharp Corp. $115.5 million and Chi Mei, a Taiwanese company, $110 million, according to federal court papers. Four other companies will pay about $72 million combined, the court documents show.
Litigation continues against AU Optronics Corporation, LG Display Co. Ltd., Toshiba Corp. and their U.S. affiliates.
The first civil trial against the non-settling companies is set for April 23.
Another trial involving the claims of Florida and other states is scheduled to begin Nov. 5.
Florida will not distribute the settlement fund until the end of litigation and then one distribution will be given, according to the Attorney General's Office.
Consumers can register online at lcdclass.com to receive a claim form when it becomes available.
They can also go the website to get more information about the litigation and obtain copies of the settlement agreements. Consumers may also call 1-855-225-1886 or write to LCD Class, P.O.Box 8025,Faribault, MN 55021-9425 to get additional information.
A copy of the LCD complaint is available online at myflorida.com.
Those who don't want to remain in the litigation must exclude themselves in writing, postmarked by April 13, to the Settlement Administrator, LCD Indirect Exclusions, P.O. Box 8025, Faribault, MN 55021-9425.
Consumers who remain in the litigation may object to the settlements in writing, postmarked by April 13, 2012, to the Settlement Administrator, Clerk’s Office, U.S. District Court for the District of Northern California, 16th Floor, 450 Golden Gate Ave., San Francisco, CA 94102 and to the Notice Administrator, LCD Indirect Objections, P.O. Box 8025, Faribault, MN 55021-9425.
Those affected by the settlement include consumers in other states: Arizona, Arkansas, California, Hawaii, Iowa, Kansas, Maine, Michigan, Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri, Nevada, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, North Dakota, Rhode Island, South Dakota, Tennessee, Vermont, West Virginia, Wisconsin and the District of Columbia.
email@example.com, 954-356-4404 or Twitter @donnagehrke