LCD Antitrust Case Nets Oregon’s Lawyers $4.3M

     SAN FRANCISCSO (CN) – A federal judge on Friday awarded the state of Oregon $4.3 million in attorneys’ fees in what could be the closing chapter of a long-running antitrust suit over liquid crystal display panels.
     Nine LCD panel makers, including Samsung and Toshiba, settled antitrust claims with the state of Oregon in October for $25.5 million.
     The panel makers, whose products are used in TVs, laptops, cellphones and other electronics, were accused of conspiring to fix panel prices between 1999 and 2006.
     Samsung previously settled antitrust claims with a class of indirect buyers for $538.6 million in 2012. Three other companies – Toshiba, LG Display and AU Optronics – reached a $571 million settlement deal with indirect buyers in 2013.
     Oregon first entered the multidistrict case in 2010 along with Washington and Illinois, when the three states objected to the defendant companies’ proposed settlements with indirect buyers.
     The $4.3 million award is less than 18 percent of Oregon’s $25.5 million settlement package and falls within the benchmark the court goes by when determining the reasonableness of attorneys’ fees, U.S. District Judge Susan Illston said Friday.
     The judge also approved $967,244 to reimburse Oregon’s litigation expenses as part of the award.
     “I’m actually impressed and pleased with the way this case has been handled,” Illston said during a hearing Friday. “I think the people and the businesses in the state of Oregon have been well served by the efforts of counsel.”
     Oregon’s contracted attorney, Michael Kelley of Portland, Oregon-based Haglund Kelley, said he plans to submit a proposed order for final approval of the settlement in two weeks now that all class members have been notified and given the chance to opt out of the settlement package.
     “I hope that will be the last document filed in this very, very long case,” Illston said. “I look forward to receiving the final judgment.”
     The antitrust litigation stretches back to 2007.

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