Favorable Settlement in LCD Price-Fixing Case

Analysis performed by OnPoint expert Dr. Gareth Macartney helped secure a favorable settlement for Eastman Kodak in its dispute with LCD panel manufacturers Epson, AU Optronics and Toshiba. The settlement resolved a dispute centered on allegations that the Defendants participated in an international price-fixing conspiracy involving thin film transistor liquid crystal display (TFT-LCD) panels. The antitrust lawsuit was part of a multidistrict litigation against the world’s leading TFT-LCD manufacturers in Taiwan, Korea and Japan. To date, the consolidated TFT-LCD price-fixing litigation has produced at least $1.39 billion in settlement deals and has led to guilty pleas and criminal charges against companies and individuals connected to the alleged price-fixing scheme.

TFT-LCD panels are used in flat-panel televisions, computer monitors, laptop computers, digital cameras, camera phones and other devices. At the time of the conspiracy, Kodak was among the top three digital camera brands in the US, and it purchased digital cameras manufactured by Original Equipment Manufacturers (OEMs) in Asia. Those cameras contained TFT-LCD panels that the OEMs purchased from panel manufacturers, such as the Defendants. Kodak suffered increased camera costs to the extent that the OEMs passed through TFT-LCD panel prices elevated by the conspiracy.

Dr. Macartney submitted an initial expert report and provided expert testimony on behalf of Plaintiff Kodak, investigating the economic injury suffered by Kodak as a result of Defendants’ price-fixing conspiracy. Dr. Macartney’s analysis demonstrated that the price-fixing conspiracy increased the price of TFT-LCD panels of all sizes to supra-competitive levels, and that the OEMs passed through a substantial portion of the price increase to Kodak in the form of higher prices for digital cameras. Further, Dr. Macartney quantified the damages Kodak suffered due to its inability to pass-through the full extent of the increased costs to its retailer customers.

In response, Defendants filed expert reports by Dr. Dennis W. Carlton, Dr. Edward A. Snyder, Dr. James A. Levinsohn, Dr. Jerry A. Hausman, Dr. George Foster, Dr. Barry C. Harris, Dr. Robert E. Hall and Mr. Bruce F. Deal, among others. Dr. Macartney responded with two expert reply reports and provided a second day of deposition testimony.

The trial was set to begin on July 22, 2013. Kodak reached a settlement with Epson in the spring of 2013, and with AU Optronics a week before trial, on July 18. A third settlement was reached with Toshiba on the eve of trial. Karl D. Belgum of Nixon Peabody LLP, successfully representing Kodak, reported that Kodak was “pleased by the settlement.”