Toshiba, LG and AU Optronics Corp have agreed to pay a combined $571 million to settle a lawsuit over price fixing in the liquid crystal display panel market.
Joseph Alioto, a San Francisco attorney who was co-lead counsel for a class of consumers suing the companies, said the amount includes $27.5 million in civil penalties for eight state governments. Seven other LCD manufacturers had reached an earlier settlement for $538.5 million, which was approved on earlier this week by US District Judge Susan Illston.
This means that it has so far cost the panel makers $1.1 billion in compensation for their price fixing antics. The class action was based on a conspiracy from 1996 through 2006 to fix LCD prices. It meant that buyers of televisions, laptops and other electronics paid a lot more than they needed.
Several companies also pleaded guilty to separate criminal charges and paid fines. Any consumer who files a claim will receive at least $25, Alioto said, and the class could include at least 20 million consumers.