Antitrust Law Daily Indirect purchaser settlement in cathode-ray-tube litigation to be reconsidered
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Thursday, February 14, 2019

Indirect purchaser settlement in cathode-ray-tube litigation to be reconsidered

By Jeffrey May, J.D.

No recovery for class members in three states raises concerns over adequacy of representation.

A settlement in long-running multidistrict class action litigation against manufacturers of cathode-ray tubes (CRTs) for conspiring to fix prices is back before the federal district court in San Francisco in light of that court's second thoughts about approving the deal. The U.S. Court of Appeals in San Francisco remanded the case so that the district court could reconsider its order on class certification and settlement approval (In re Cathode Ray Tube [CRT] Antitrust Litigation, February 13, 2019, Wardlaw, K.).

While the settlement was on appeal, the "district court recognized that it should have provided recovery to class members in the Omitted Repealer States, Massachusetts, Missouri, and New Hampshire," according to the appellate court. This impacted the issues on appeal including the adequacy of representation under Federal Rules of Civil Procedure 23(a)(4); and the attorney fees awarded to Lead Counsel.

In a November 8, 2018, order, in response to the indirect purchaser plaintiffs’ motion for an indicative ruling pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 62.1, the district court stated that "with the benefit of hindsight, the Court now concludes that it erred in approving the parties’ original settlement." Concerns about the adequacy of representation arose with the district court because the settlement provided no recovery to class members in the omitted repealer states. In the district court's view, it erred in requiring class members in Massachusetts, Missouri, and New Hampshire to release their claims without compensation, noting that the fact that the claims were required to be released meant they had value.

The appeals court panel did not vacate the settlement order. It retained responsibility for future appeals in the case.

The case is No. 16-16368.

Attorneys: Daniel Edward Birkhaeuser (Bramson, Plutzik, Mahler & Birkhaeuser, LLP) for Indirect Purchaser Plaintiffs. Christopher M. Curran (White & Case LLP) for Toshiba Corp.

Companies: Toshiba Corp

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