Florida part of a $538 million LCD panel price-fixing settlement

Companies settle LCD price-fixing case (Yoshikazu Tsuno/AFP/Getty Images)

Florida and seven other states have reached a $538.5 million settlement with several manufacturers and sellers of liquid crystal displays after alleging that the companies tried to fix prices of LCD panels used in flat-panel televisions, computers and other popular electronics, the Florida Attorney General's Office announced Tuesday.

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. Representatives from the three companies could not be reached to comment Tuesday.

Four other companies will pay about $72 million combined, the court documents show.

"I am pleased that we will be able to return funds to those who were harmed," Attorney General Pam Bondi said in a statement.

However, no money will be distributed until all litigation is concluded, according to Jennifer Meale, communications director for the Attorney General’s Office.

Bondi's suit against several other companies is scheduled for trial in November 2012, Meale said.

Following court approval of the settlements, the funds will be distributed to the Florida businesses and consumers who made a qualifying purchase," Meale said, adding a claims process would be announced.

Bondi and state attorneys general in New York, Michigan, Missouri, Arkansas, West Virginia, California and Wisconsin joined in with a class-action lawsuit.

They accused companies of conspiring in secret meetings and telephone conversations to prevent competition and to increase prices for the LCD panels.

A number of the defendants and their employees have pleaded guilty to federal charges in federal court, according to a statement from Bondi's office.

dgehrke@tribune.com, 954-356-4404 or Twitter @donnagehrke