About the Case
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 $439,550,000 with various Defendants.
Settlements To Date
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. Settlement funds have been fully distributed.
A second phase all-cash fund of $66.9 million has been established for settlements reached against Defendants Hitachi Chemical and Soshin. The Court has approved these settlements, and distribution of funds is pending the Court’s authorization.
Phase 3 and additional settlements
The Court has approved a third phase of settlements with Defendants Nichicon and Rubycon, creating an additional all-cash fund of $108 million plus potential further payments of contingent funds. Distribution of these funds is also pending.
The Class has recently reached additional settlements totaling $232,050,000 with Defendants AVX, Elna, Holy Stone, Kemet, Panasonic, Shinyei, Shizuki, and Taitsu. A Motion for Preliminary Approval has been filed with the Court.
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.
CASE STATUS AND 2020 TRIAL
Direct Purchaser Plaintiffs filed their Trial Brief, which outlines their allegations and trial approach. On March 3 in the Northern District of California, San Francisco Division, Direct Purchaser Plaintiffs’ delivered their opening statement, which is viewable via transcript and video (starting at the 59:39 mark).
Due to the coronavirus/COVID-19 pandemic, trial proceedings were suspended two weeks later in March. On June 4, the trial ended in a mistrial as the Court concluded that the trial could not resume until the fall and that it would have to release the jury. The fall trial will start from scratch against the two remaining Defendants: Nippon Chemi-con and Matsuo Electric Co.