LG is the latest company to settle in a sprawling class action case involving a conspiracy to fix LCD display prices from the late 1990s to 2006. The company has agreed to pay $380 million — nearly a third of the total $1.124 billion in payments laid out in the agreement. LG is joined in this most recent settlement by two other LCD makers, Toshiba and AUO, who have agreed to pay $170 million and $21 million, respectively. The other seven defendants in the case — including Sharp, Samsung, and Hitachi — had already approved settlements earlier in the year. If it's approved, the $1 billion-plus total will be by far the biggest settlement in a price-fixing case in the US, representing damages arising from a multi-year effort to keep the price of LCD panels artificially high despite improved production technology and falling component prices.
The top 8 LCD makers grew profits 740 percent between 2003 and 2004
The plaintiffs in the case are indirect purchasers of LCD panels — people who bought computers or TVs using the displays during the years in question. 24 states are listed in the Statewide Damages Class (i.e., the class being awarded money damages), and people in those states who purchased LCD products at the time might fall into the class. You can register online if you think you might be included.
The Indirect Purchaser class is separate from the Direct Purchaser class, which includes retailers and others who bought LCD products directly from the defendants. That means that while everything is tied to the same alleged price-fixing activity, these settlements are separate from the $87 million Toshiba ruling and $198.5 million Sharp settlement announced in recent weeks.