Costco receives $37 million jury verdict in LCD TV price fixing lawsuit

October 24, 2014 by

SharpA federal jury in Seattle has found that Costco is owed nearly $37 million in damages because it purchased televisions and computers that contained price-fixed liquid-crystal display panels.

Over the past month, jurors reviewed evidence and heard testimony on how much Costco is owed as a result of an antitrust conspiracy.  AU Optronics was found guilty, and LG pleaded guilty, in federal court to conspiring with other LCD manufacturers to fix prices for thin film transistor LCD panels used in televisions and computer screens. AUO was sentenced to pay a $500 million fine, and is currently appealing its conviction and sentence.

Costco filed suit in 2010 against 10 Taiwanese, Japanese and Korean LCD makers.  Eight defendants — including Hannstar, Hitachi and Samsung — all settled the claims prior to trial.  AU Optronics and LG Display admitted to participating in an illegal price-fixing scheme, but countered in court that Costco’s figures were excessive, and proposed $1.5 million in damages.

Costco alleged that the price-fixing scheme kept it from offering the most economical products to its customers. After a day of deliberation, the jury found that Costco had been damaged in the following amounts: $2.9 million for goods purchased from Samsung; $12.1 million for goods from Sharp; $9.1 million for goods from Toshiba, $7.3 million for goods from Phillips; $4.4 million for goods from Panasonic; and $663,000 for goods from JVC.

Closing arguments centered on which side’s economic and technical experts were better qualified, and whose economic data crunching was more accurate.

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Keith Dubanevich
Keith is an accomplished trial, appellate, and healthcare lawyer with over 30 years of experience in more than a dozen different jurisdictions around the country. With a focus on complex dispute resolution, with particular emphasis in the healthcare industry, Keith is adept at handling multi-state and internal antitrust cases, consumer litigation, and securities disputes. In healthcare, he has handled peer review disputes, partnership and incorporation matters, and billing investigations. Keith has led internal investigations for public entities as well as for not-for-profit organizations. Keith's clients value his keen instincts in court and his ability to delve into complex legal issues while never losing sight of the overall strategy of a case. During his time at the Oregon Department of Justice as Associate Attorney General and Chief of Staff, Keith led the creation of a civil rights unit, managed securities litigation including multiple cases against financial services companies, and supervised antitrust investigations and prosecutions. He was also involved with the adoption of legislation that expanded the Unlawful Trade Practices Act and legislation that imposed a mediation requirement prior to non-judicial foreclosures.

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