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TheStreet Open House

TFT-LCD Class Action Suits Claiming US Customers Bilked Of Billions Nearing Resolution

CRESSKILL, N.J., Feb. 6, 2013 /PRNewswire/ -- Fees have been recommended for the attorneys in the class action suits against Asian companies accused of conspiring to bilk US customers out of billions of dollars in the sale of TFT-LCD panels, technology developed in the US. Plaintiffs in the case claim that the companies and their US subsidiaries conspired to raise and fix the prices of thin film transistor liquid crystal display (TFT-LCD) panels. Considered to be the most important technological advance of the 20 th century, TFT-LCD panels were developed at Westinghouse and RCA's US Research and Development laboratories. Since 2001, one of the three engineers credited for developing the technology, Fang-Chen Luo, has been the head of research and development at Taiwan-based AU Optronics (AUO), a principal defendant in the anti-trust litigation. Class actions were brought against the conspirators on behalf of individuals and businesses who purchased TFT-LCDs directly and indirectly from the Defendants. Now that settlement amounts have been finalized, RD Legal Funding, LLC ("RD Legal") is providing immediate financing to the plaintiff's attorneys involved in the litigation.

(Logo: http://photos.prnewswire.com/prnh/20110803/NY45278LOGO)

Worldwide, since 2011, over 9.4 billion electronic devices using TFT-LCD technology have been in use, more than the world's population of 7 billion. The panels are used in computer monitors and notebooks, televisions, mobile phones, and other electronic devices.  

Bernard J. Lechner developed the transistor-capacitor addressing circuit which is used in today's active-matrix LCDs at RCA Laboratories in 1969. This invention started the race to construct a flat television that could hang on the wall. Working at Westinghouse during the 1970s, Brody and Luo extended Lechner's active matrix work, and, based on CdSe TFT technology developed by Brody during the 1960s, produced the first LCDs employing an integrated array of TFTs. In 1974 Luo demonstrated the world's first TFT-LCD panel at Westinghouse.

In 1996, Luo joined AUO as the head of research and development. One of the principal companies named in a US Department of Justice's (DOJ) Sherman Antitrust suit, AUO is the world's third largest producer of large-sized TFT-LCD panels; second largest manufacturer of TFT-LCD panels for digital cameras; and third largest manufacturer of panels for digital video camcorders and in-car displays. AUO's website reports that in 2011 the company earned $12.5 billion in total sales revenue.

The DOJ charged AUO Taiwan and its US subsidiary with conspiring from 2001 through 2006 to fix prices world-wide for TFT-LCD panels at secret monthly meetings in Taiwan hotels, karaoke bars, and tea rooms with co-conspirators including LG Philips, Samsung, Chunghwa, Chi Mei, and HannStar. Dr. Luo was not named in the suit. AUO chose to test the Antitrust Division's case rather than plead guilty. In September 2012, AU Optronics was found guilty and fined $500 million.

AU Optronics, Toshiba, and LG agreed to pay a combined $571 million settlement for one of the class action lawsuits filed by customers, retailers, and consumers. Other manufacturers including Hitachi, Sharp, and Samsung, agreed in December 2011 to pay $538 million to settle their suits.

TFT-LCD Antitrust Litigation attorneys are urged to contact RD Legal at 1-800-565-5177 or go to legalfunding.com/solutions for more information about immediate post-settlement financing. For well over a decade, RD Legal has been one of the nation's leading providers of attorney post-settlement financing.

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