A jury in San Francisco ruled that the Japanese electronics conglomerate that is Toshiba conspired with vendors to keep LCD prices “artificially high”. The jury found out that Toshiba and its subsidiaries conspired with other manufacturers of Thin Film Transistor-Liquid Crystal Displays to raise and fix the prices of TFT-LCD panels. Toshiba decided to fight the allegations in federal court while other defendants in the class-action lawsuit settled the case outside the court. In December last year, seven LCD manufacturers, including Sharp, Samsung, and Hitachi, agreed to pay may more than $553 million overall to settle the allegations that they all conspired to control the pricing of LCD panels.
The jury determined earlier today that Toshiba is liable to return $70 million to consumers who bought its products, and pay $17 million to manufacturers who used its LCD panels – amounting to $87 million overall. But that could be tripled since the federal antitrust law requires the trebling of these damages. “There was strong evidence that Toshiba participated in the price-fixing conspiracy through communications with other TFT-LCD manufacturers. The jury rejected Toshiba’s claim that it had done nothing wrong, and this is one of the few antitrust class actions ever tried to a successful verdict,” said Bruce Simon, the lead counsel for the plaintiffs.