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.
SETTLEMENTS TO DATE
To date, the firm has reached settlements totaling $343.5 million with various Defendants.
On January 6, 2020, the Direct Purchaser Class filed its motion for preliminary approval of a fourth round of class action settlements with Defendants KEMET and Shizuki. The settlements create an all-cash fund of $63 million. Claim filing and processing for this latest 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.
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 final approval.
The Court has also 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 those funds is also pending.
The Class has also recently entered into settlements with Defendants Panasonic and Holy Stone totaling $73 million. Details about filing claims is forthcoming.
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
Trial is currently underway in the Northern District of California, San Francisco Division. Direct Purchaser Plaintiffs filed their Trial Brief, which outlines their allegations and trial approach. Direct Purchaser Plaintiffs’ opening statement took place on March 3 and is viewable via transcript and video (starting at the 59:39 mark). Trial is ongoing. Due to the coronavirus pandemic, proceedings have been postponed until April 6.