Hitachi Nailed for $13M in Antitrust Settlement

     (CN) - A federal judge preliminarily approved a $13.4 million settlement of claims related to the global price-fixing conspiracy of cathode ray tubes.
     A CRT is a vacuum tube with electron guns that shoot rays across a fluorescent screen to form images.
     Hitachi is one in a long list of companies that manufactured televisions, computer monitors and other electronic devices containing CRTs before the flat-panel screen made them obselete.
     More than 30 complaints were filed against CRT manufacturers within six months of the Nov. 8, 2007, announcement from the European Commission about a worldwide antitrust investigation, complete with raids, of CRT pricing.
     Multidistrict litigation over the claims is ongoing in the Northern District of California. Whereas direct purchasers bought the tubes directly, indirect purchasers bought products containing the tubes.
     In the first class action from a direct purchaser in 2007, Crago Inc. claimed that Sharp, Samsung, Philips, Toshiba and Panasonic had conspiring over the $19 billion since 1995.
     U.S. District Court Judge Samuel Conti gave preliminary approval of a $25 million settlement between LG Electronics and indirect purchasers on Dec. 12, 2013. It was the sixth settlement to be reached in a complaint that names some 14 separate defendant companies.
     Conti's preliminary approval of the $13.4 million settlement with Hitachi, which involves direct purchasers, is the seventh.
     "The court finds that the settlement falls within the range of possible final approval," Conti wrote.
     Under the settlement, plaintiffs will receive $13.45 million cash in exchange for dismissal of the case with prejudice. The settlement also provides $300,000 for the cost of notifying class members and future expenses associated with the administration and distribution of the settlement payments, according to the settlement document.
     Conti also ordered a fairness hearing set for 120 days following the order, on April 29.