New York Attorney General Andrew Cuomo on Friday filed an antitrust lawsuit against LCD manufacturers over price fixing. With the move Cuomo becomes the latest politician to go after technology companies in an election year.
In many respects, Cuomo's lawsuit is following the playbook of his counterpart in Connecticut, Richard Blumenthal, who just can't get enough of technology company lawsuits. Blumenthal, who is running for Senate , just can't stop suing the tech industry in between a few unfavorable headlines. He's suing over e-book deals and Google Street View.
According to a statement, Cuomo, who is running for New York governor, is looking to "recover damages suffered from 1996 to 2006 by New York State and other public purchasers - local governments, schools, hospitals, and colleges, among others - that purchased computers and other goods containing the price-fixed screens. The suit seeks damages, restitution, and civil penalties."
Cuomo then alleges a cartel was formed to set LCD prices---an easy case to make since LG, Sharp and Chunghwa plead guilty to a Department of Justice suit in 2008. Cuomo is looking to piggyback on the DOJ settlement where LG, Sharp and Chunghwa paid $585 million in criminal fines.
Cuomo says top level execs had secret meetings to set prices, exchanged production information and worked hard to avoid competition. Among those named:
* AU Optronics Corporation; * AU Optronics Corporation America, Inc.; * Chi Mei Corporation; * Chi Mei Optoelectronics Corporation; * Chi Mei Optoelectronics USA, Inc.; * CMO Japan Co., Ltd.; * Hitachi Displays, Ltd.; * Hitachi, Ltd.; * Hitachi Electronic Devices (USA), Inc.; * LG Display Co., Ltd.; * LG Display America, Inc.; * Samsung Electronics Co., Ltd.; * Samsung Electronics America, Inc.; * Samsung Semiconductor, Inc.; * Sharp Corporation; * Sharp Electronics Corporation; * Toshiba Corporation; * Toshiba Matsushita Display Technology Co., Ltd.; * Toshiba America Information Systems, Inc.; * Toshiba America Electronic Components, Inc.
Cuomo's case may be successful on some level---the LCD makers have to know everyone will sue for price fixing. Now it's New York State's turn.