Optical Disc Drives (ODD)
The claims period for the $205 million class action settlement in the Optical Disk Drive Antitrust litigation is now closed. The district court overseeing this litigation has approved all the settlements as fair and reasonable, and has approved the payment of attorneys’ fees.
A small number of class members have objected to the terms of the settlement and the payment of attorneys’ fees to lead counsel, Hagens Berman Sobol Shapiro LLP. The objectors have appealed the district court’s approval of the settlement to the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals. Under the governing case law, until the objections are resolved, we are unable to distribute the settlement funds to class members.
Hagens Berman believes that these objections are without merit. We are proud of the recovery on behalf of the indirect purchaser class, and believe that private class actions are an important counterbalance to the power of large corporations. This litigation sprawled many years, multiple continents, with millions of documents and dozens of depositions. Without joining together the claims of consumers, and allowing law firms to act on their behalf, there would be no recovery for the average consumer injured by such a coordinated and sophisticated cartel. We at Hagens Berman will continue to act on behalf of the class until the overcharges due to this cartel are returned to consumers.
CASE INCLUDES all devices with CD or DVD Players
In their complaint, Hagens Berman alleges that manufacturers of optical disc drives (“ODDs”) colluded to stabilize the prices of ODDs worldwide. Plaintiffs allege that defendants’ conduct had an extraordinary impact on consumers in the United States where many of these products are sold. Hagens Berman filed suit against big-brand manufacturers such as Hitachi, LG Electronics, Sony, Toshiba, Samsung and Philips and represents consumers – Indirect Purchasers Plaintiffs (“IPPs”) – in this class action.
The ODD industry possessed structural characteristics that support the existence of the conspiracy. High barriers to entry, few ODD manufacturers (and competitors within the market), many long-standing business relationships, including joint ventures, and a homogenous product point to circumstantial evidence of a conspiracy between competitors – and all factors defined the ODD market during the time of the conspiracy with defendants. Plaintiffs believe these structural characteristics facilitated defendants’ conspiracy to stabilize prices for ODDs. Plaintiffs allege that defendants’ conduct impacted DVD drives sold between 2003 and 2008.
In February 2016, Judge Seeborg granted certification of an indirect purchaser class for all persons and entities who purchased: (i) a computer with an internal ODD; (ii) a stand-alone ODD designed for internal use in computers; or (iii) an ODD designed to be attached externally to a computer. An ODD refers to a DVD-RW, DVD-ROM, or COMBO drive manufactured by one or more defendants or their co-conspirators. Panasonic-branded computers are excluded from the class.
To date, IPPs have reached settlements with Panasonic, NEC, Sony, and Hitachi providing for $124.5 million in recovery for the class. On July 21, 2016, the Court granted preliminary approval for these settlements and Notice of the settlements was emailed to class members beginning in late August, 2016. Class members are now invited to file a claim on the official Court-approved settlement website, which can be found at https://www.opticaldiskdriveantitrust.com. The simple online claim form only takes 3-5 minutes for most individuals. The deadline to file a claim is July 1, 2017. If final approval is granted to one, some or all of the settlements, class members who have filed valid and timely claims will receive an electronic payment. The amount of any settlement payment will be based on a class member’s qualifying purchases and the total number of class members.
If you purchased a laptop or desktop computer that features a DVD drive purchased between April 1, 2003 to December 31, 2008, you are encouraged to contact Hagens Berman to find out if you are eligible to join the case. Please email Hagens Berman at ODD@hbsslaw.com, call 206-623-7292 or fill out the contact form on the right-hand side of this page.
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