Paul Hastings Represents LG Display in Series of Successful Motions for Summary Judgment Narrowing Plaintiffs Claims

January 07, 2013

Last week, Judge Susan Illston, the Northern District of California federal judge handling the multi-district litigation (MDL), In re TFT-LCD Litigation, issued three orders on defendants motions for summary judgment that significantly reduced the damages that numerous direct and indirect purchaser plaintiffs can seek in their individual antitrust opt out actions against liquid crystal display (LCD) manufacturers for their role in an alleged flat panel price-fixing cartel operating from 1998 to 2006. These actions are among those set for trial next June. Paul Hastings LLP, which represents LG Display in these and other actions in the MDL, was the principal firm responsible for drafting and arguing two of the three successful motions.

Paul Hastings brought two motions for summary judgment arguing that the indirect purchaser claims of plaintiffs, which include retailers and resellers of finished goods containing flat panels, should be reduced. The first motion sought recognition of the pass-on defense across all of plaintiffs state indirect purchaser claims; the second sought to exclude from plaintiffs damages purchases from companies that plaintiffs failed to allege as co-conspirators until late in the litigation. After Paul Hastings filed its opening papers on the pass-on defense, plaintiffs conceded that several states under which they seek indirect purchaser damages did permit defendants to reduce those damages by the amount these middlemen plaintiffs passed any overcharge onto their customers; however plaintiffs argued that the law of five states California, Illinois, Michigan, Minnesota, and New York did not. Plaintiffs further argued that various disclosures during discovery provided sufficient notice of the co-conspirators alleged in each case. The court agreed with Paul Hastings on both points, ruling that the pass-on defense would be permitted under the laws of all contested states, and that plaintiffs claims for purchases from companies not timely identified as co-conspirators would be excluded, significantly narrowing the damages plaintiffs may pursue. In a third ruling the Court found that Costco had not adequately established that several suppliers it had purchased from owned or controlled a conspirator and thus could not include purchases from those suppliers in its direct damages. This ruling further and vastly reduced Costcos direct damages.

Paul Hastings LG Display team is led by San Francisco partner, Holly House; team members include Kevin McCann, Lee Berger, Sean Unger and Danielle Doremus. The case is In re: TFT-LCD (Flat Panel) Antitrust Litigation, Case No. 3:07-md-01827, in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California.

Paul Hastings is a leading global law firm with offices in Asia, Europe, and the United States. We provide innovative legal solutions to financial institutions and Fortune 500 companies. Please visit www.paulhastings.com for more information.

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