Toshiba, LG Display, and AUO Optronics are the latest companies to settle in the ongoing LCD price-fixing drama, and their combined $571m payout will put cash in the pockets of American flat-panel buyers.
The total settlement in the class action suit includes $27.5m to be paid in civil penalties to eight states, plus an additional $543.5m to be paid out to consumers in 24 states and the District of Columbia, Reuters reports.
The suit, which has dragged on since 2006, alleges that manufacturers of TFT LCD flat panels conspired to fix prices for almost a decade, resulting in higher retail prices for TVs, laptops, and other kit.
In December, seven other screen makers reached a separate settlement worth $553m. At the time, Toshiba, LG, and AUO were the only holdouts.
All ten of the companies involved have denied any wrongdoing, saying they only agreed to cough up the cash to put an end to the matter.
If that's true, they paid a pretty penny to put the case behind them. According to Joseph Alioto, the San Francisco attorney who was co-lead counsel in the suit, the $1.1bn in total settlements sets a record for a class action lawsuit over price fixing.
The court still needs to approve the settlement – but that seems likely, seeing how it granted preliminary approval to the earlier settlement in January.
Assuming it is approved, Alioto says, anyone who files a claim in the case will receive at least $25, and as many as 20 million Americans may be eligible to claim.
Getting the cash may take a while, however – the December settlement hasn't yet paid out. But interested parties who would like to know when claim forms will be available can sign up on the suit's official website. ®