Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi announced Thursday that she and several other state attorney generals had reached an additional $543.5 million agreement after filing a price-fixing lawsuit against several manufacturers of LCD panels with the total settlement now at $1.1 billion.
Thursday's settlement is in addition to the $538.5 million in damages and $14.7 million in civil penalties paid last year as a result of the lawsuit.
Without admitting guilt, Samsung Electronic agreed to pay $240 million in the earlier settlement, Sharp Corp. $115.5 million and Chi Mei, a Taiwanese company, $110 million, according to federal court papers. Four other companies paid about $72 million combined, the court documents show.
Thursday's agreement involves nine companies that did not immediately settle, including Toshiba Corp. and their U.S. affiliates. A telephone call and an e-mail to Toshiba media representatives were not immediately returned Thursday.
The attorney generals along with lead class counsel for private plaintiffs had pursued the lawsuit after allegations arose that several companies were plotting to keep prices high on thin film transistor (TFT) liquid crystal display (LCD) panels, the most common form of LCD panels used in popular electronic devices.In the latest agreement, the nine companies have agreed to pay $543.5 million to U.S. purchasers of electronic devices containing LCD screens such as laptop computers, computer monitors, and flat screen televisions, according to Bondi's office. They also agreed to pay penalties, establish antitrust compliance programs and write yearly compliance reports.
"Price-fixing of this kind directly harms consumers, Florida’s governmental agencies, and our economy," Bondi said in a statement. "This settlement puts a stop to this illegal behavior and allows for consumers to be compensated."
A motion asking for preliminary approval of the settlements was be filed with a California court Thursday.
The nine companies were accused of organizing the conspiracy at secret meetings and telephone conversations. The U.S. Department of Justice has indicted and convicted a number of the defendants and their employees.
Following court approval of the settlements, the funds will be distributed to the Florida businesses and consumers who made a qualifying purchase.Consumers should go to www.LCDclass.com to file a claim or obtain additional information about the litigation.
They can also call 1-855-225-1886 or write to LCD Class, P.O. Box 8025, Faribault, MN 55021-9425 to obtain information. A copy of the LCD complaint is available online at: http://myfloridalegal.com/webfiles.nsf/WF/MMFD
The other states participating in Thursday's settlement were California; New York; Michigan; Missouri; Arkansas; West Virginia; and Wisconsin.email@example.com or Twitter @donnagehrke