Toshiba Found Not Liable, Electronics Firm HannStar Receives Favorable Damages Decision in LCD Price-Fixing Case

Jury Accepts Analysis Group Expert’s Damages Figure

Date:September 10, 2013

Boston -- After a six-week trial and a day of deliberation, a California federal jury found Analysis Group client Toshiba Corporation not liable for conspiracy to fix the prices of thin-film-transistor liquid-crystal display (TFT-LCD) panels. HannStar Display Corporation, also an Analysis Group client, had previously acknowledged its participation in a conspiracy to fix the prices of certain TFT-LCD panels; however, the same jury awarded only $7.4 million in direct damages, based on figures calculated and presented by Analysis Group affiliate and testifying expert Edward Snyder. Based on Professor Snyder's testimony about the pass-through of overcharges to consumers, the jury awarded no damages on indirect purchases. The Best Buy plaintiffs had asked for $770 million in damages.

Best Buy's lawsuit stems from a long-running U.S. investigation of an alleged global conspiracy to set artificially high prices for, and restrict the supply of, various sizes of TFT-LCD panels. The plaintiffs claimed that the defendants had engaged in price-fixing behaviors since 1998, resulting in overcharges to direct purchasers of TFT-LCD panels and finished products containing those panels (such as televisions and computer monitors) and to indirect purchasers of finished products.

Professor Snyder, the dean of Yale School of Management, and an Analysis Group team led by Managing Principal Pierre Cremieux, Principal Almudena Arcelus, Vice President Aaron Yeater, and Manager Wayne Huang, were retained by a joint defense group to assess issues related to damages and class certification.

Professor Snyder filed reports and delivered testimony rebutting the plaintiffs' damages experts on the efficacy of price-fixing cartels. In particular, he addressed the issue of pass-through of overcharges, relevant under state law for assessing the damages claimed on indirect purchases. Professor Snyder then calculated damages on direct and indirect purchases and presented his results, which the jury adopted.

"In this complicated case, Professor Snyder's ability to clearly explain his economic analysis and demonstrate that he had been thorough and objective were key elements in the jury's decision-making process," says Mr. Yeater.

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