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MANUFACTURERS ALLEGEDLY CONSPIRED IN PRICE-FIXING SCHEME
MADISON - Attorney General J.B. Van Hollen today announced his office will be filing a lawsuit against the world's largest manufacturers of thin-film transistor liquid crystal display panels, or “TFT-LCD panels,” alleging that the companies conspired to fix the prices of their products. According to the Attorney General's civil lawsuit which will be filed in California federal court, the defendants conspired to prevent competition and to increase prices for TFT-LCD panels, the most common form of LCD panels used in popular electronic devices such as desktop monitors, laptop screens, and flat panel televisions.
“Price fixing is a serious concern,” said Attorney General Van Hollen. “This massive conspiracy allegedly resulted in artificially and illegally inflated prices of certain LCD panels at the expense of Wisconsin citizens and taxpayers.”
Defendants include manufacturers of electronic goods such as AU Optronics Corporation, AU Optronics Corporation America, Chimei Innolux Corp., CMO Japan Co., Ltd., Chi Mei Optoelectronics USA, Inc., HannStar Display Corporation, Hitachi Ltd., Hitachi Displays, Ltd., Hitachi Electronic Devices (USA), Inc., LG Display Co., Ltd., LG Display America Inc., Samsung Electronics Co., Ltd., Samsung Electronics America, Inc., Samsung Semiconductor, Inc., Sharp Corporation, Sharp Electronics Corporation.
Defendants allegedly organized the conspiracy at the highest level of their organizations in various secret meetings and telephone conversations over a period of years. The United States Department of Justice has indicted a number of the defendants and their employees in the same federal court, resulting in more than $890 million in criminal fines.
Wisconsin is joining the lawsuit filed today in cooperation with the Attorneys General of Missouri, Arkansas, Michigan and West Virginia. The lawsuit claims the companies violated the Wisconsin Antitrust Act and the Sherman Act. Wisconsin's antitrust laws allow civil penalties of up to $100,000 per corporate violation. The antitrust laws further provide for damages up to three times the amount lost due to the unlawful conduct.
Assistant Attorney General Gwendolyn Cooley represents the State of Wisconsin in this matter.