The Joseph Saveri Law Firm is sole Lead Counsel in a class action lawsuit filed in July 2014 in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California on behalf of direct purchasers of aluminum, tantalum, and film capacitors.
The lawsuit alleges that capacitor manufacturers, faced with declining demand, agreed to raise, fix, and stabilize capacitor prices. Capacitors are devices placed in electric circuits that temporarily store electrical charge, and nearly every electronic device manufactured today contains them. Trillions of capacitors of various size, capacitance, and materials are manufactured each year. Price-fixing in the multibillion-dollar market for aluminum, tantalum (a rare metal), and film capacitors may have started as far back as 2002 and continued to the filing of the complaint.
The U.S. Department of Justice (“DOJ”), along with regulators in China, Japan, South Korea, Singapore, Taiwan, Canada, Brazil, and Europe, has actively investigated the price-fixing allegations. One Japanese corporation requested that the DOJ grant it amnesty from prosecution in exchange for reporting about the capacitor manufacturers’ illegal collusive conduct. To date, eight capacitors manufacturers and two of their individual executives have pleaded guilty and been sentenced for violating the federal antitrust laws following their plea agreements with the DOJ. Additional related executives remain under indictment.
Through this lawsuit, the firm seeks relief for direct purchasers of capacitors including, among other things, recovery of treble damages for the unlawful overcharge on capacitors resulting from the Defendants’ collusion. To date, the firm has reached settlements totaling $219.5 million with various Defendants.
On May 16, 2019, a third round of class action settlements between Direct Purchaser Plaintiffs and Defendants Nichicon and Rubycon received final approval by the Court. The settlements create an all-cash fund of $108 million plus an additional $12 million in contingent payments based on Rubycon’s financial performance. Claim filing and processing for this settlement round is in progress.
Previously, a first phase settlement total of $32.6 million in cash and secure agreements was reached against Defendants: Fujitsu Limited; NEC TOKIN Corporation and NEC TOKIN America, Inc.; Nitsuko Electronics Corporation; Okaya Electric Industries Co., Ltd. and Okaya Electric America, Inc.; and ROHM Co., Ltd. and ROHM Semiconductor USA, Inc. All initial payments for approved claims have been distributed; others are pending Court approval. To date, about 50% of all payments have been distributed.
A second phase all-cash fund of $66.9 million has been established for settlements reached against Defendants Hitachi Chemical ($63 million) and Soshin ($3.9 million). The Court has approved these settlements, and distribution is expected on or about June 2019 and January 2020.
For further information, please see the firm’s Capacitors case information page, press coverage of the most recent case settlements, and the In Re Capacitors Antitrust Litigation settlement website.
The lawsuit is continuing against Defendants that have not previously settled. Trial is currently set for March 2, 2020. The firm continues to investigate these price-fixing allegations, as well as any injuries U.S. businesses or consumers may have suffered as a result of the capacitor manufacturers’ illegal agreements. Please contact the firm if you or your company purchased capacitors—either from capacitor manufacturers or any of their wholesale distributors—and have information or documents related to any agreements to fix prices on capacitors; or you are involved in or are knowledgeable about the capacitors industry and believe you have information that can assist the firm in its ongoing investigation.