A federal jury handed plaintiffs a $261 million verdict on Tuesday, finding flat-panel screen maker Toshiba engaged in a price-fixing conspiracy. But the defense has its own victory to claim.
A class of direct purchaser plaintiffs represented by Lieff Cabraser Heimann & Bernstein and Pearson, Simon, Warshaw & Penn secured an $87 million verdict, tripled under a provision of the Sherman Act, after a six-week trial before U.S. District Judge Susan Illston. Toshiba, represented by Christopher Curran of White & Case in Washington, D.C., suspects it won’t have to pay a dime.
“Given credits for settlements by other defendants, Toshiba expects that it will not have to pay any damages as a result of this verdict, even after trebling under U.S. antitrust laws,” the company said in a statement.
Several other TFT-LCD makers previously settled with both direct purchaser plaintiffs and indirect purchaser plaintiffs. And a related criminal case netted convictions of the Taiwanese company AU Optronics Corp. and two of its former top executives.
The civil damage award against Toshiba was a fraction of the $800 million plaintiffs were seeking in the TFT-LCD multidistrict litigation. Co-lead plaintiffs counsel Bruce Simon of Pearson Simon still called it “magnificent.”
“It’s a very important verdict for the entire plaintiff antitrust bar,” Simon said shortly after the verdict came in Tuesday morning. “Toshiba is one of the biggest corporations in the world, represented by one of the biggest law firms in the United States, and we prevailed.” He was co-lead counsel with Richard Heimann of Lieff Cabraser.
The jury awarded $17 million to members of a “panel class,” or those who purchased the panels before they were installed in products like computers and televisions. And it awarded $70 million to the “finished product class.”
“Toshiba took a gamble taking the case to trial, and we prevailed on behalf of the direct purchaser class,” Simon said.
The jury deliberated for 1 1/2 days.
This story was originally published by The Recorder, an American Lawyer affiliate.