A number of electronics makers, including Philips Electronics North America Corp., Panasonic Corp., Samsung SDI Co. Ltd., Hitachi Ltd., Toshiba and others, have agreed to pay $528 million to settle class action claims that they fixed cathode ray tube (“CRTs”) prices.
The plaintiffs — consumers that purchased products containing CRT’s (“indirect purchasers”) — asked a California federal court to sign off on the settlements totaling $528 million in the long-running antitrust multidistrict litigation.
Samsung SDI and Philips inked the two largest deals with the indirect purchasers, for $225 million and $175 million, respectively. Panasonic will pay $70 million, Toshiba $30 million and Hitachi $28 million. Combined with $35 million the indirect purchasers already won through earlier settlements with Chunghwa Picture Tubes Ltd. and LG Electronics Inc., the latest settlements will bring the indirect purchasers’ total recovery to $563 million.
The deals came as the two sides were preparing for a trial that was originally set to begin in March, with the parties reaching agreements starting in late January and wrapping up with Samsung in April.
The settlements cover both a nationwide class and buyers from 21 states who purchased products containing CRTs, such as televisions and computer monitors, according to the filing. The nationwide class does not, however, include residents of Illinois, Oregon and Washington because those states’ attorneys general are suing to recover separately on behalf of their citizens.
In addition to the cash settlements, all of the defendants have agreed to cooperate with the plaintiffs as they continue to pursue the case.
The MDL, consolidated in 2008, also included a group of direct purchasers and scores of suits brought by individual retailers seeking damages from the electronics companies.
The plaintiffs claimed the companies had divvied up the market and cut down on supply to boost prices of CRTs used in TVs and computer monitors from early 1995 through late 2007.
The case is In re: Cathode Ray Tube Antitrust Litigation, case number 3:07-cv-05944, in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California.