Ruling means AT&T can sue LCD makers over alleged price-fixing

Carrier has won partial reinstatement of a price-fixing lawsuit against firms including AU Optronics and Samsung Display Co.

AT&T's claims in a lawsuit over price-fixing LCD displays have been partially reinstated by the 9th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals in San Francisco.

Yesterday, AT&T won the right to have its claims reinstated based on Californian law and the purchase of panels made outside of the state, which reverses a previous, lower-court judgement that dismissed AT&T's allegations. The U.S. phone carrier is now able to sue companies including Taiwanese AU Optronics Corporation and South Korean firm Samsung Display Co., a subsidiary of Samsung Electronics.

In July, Toshiba, LG Display and AU Optronics agreed to pay a combined sum of $571 million in the United States to settle an antitrust lawsuit. The firms allegedly agreed upon and fixed prices for flat-panel displays, which then allegedly drove up prices between 1999 and 2006. The first lawsuit launched over these allegations was filed in 2007.

Although the defendants argued that AT&T's claims violated the "due process" clause within the American constitution, a three-judge panel disagreed, according to Bloomberg.

AT&T's successful appeal means that the carrier can now sue the companies under Californian antitrust laws. The company says that it has previously paid inflated prices for liquid crystal displays due to the conspiracy, and asked courts in 2009 for financial damages and an injunction against the firms to prevent it happening in the future.

This year, the Chinese government decided to fine LCD flat panel makers over price-fixing allegations. Samsung, LG, and four Taiwanese firms were fined $56 million, $27 million of which was earmarked to compensate nine firms that were apparently affected by the scheme. However, confusion remains over when this compensation will be handed over.

This story originally appeared as "AT&T wins ruling in price-fixing lawsuit against LCD panel makers" on ZDNet.

 

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