Sony Corp. will pay indirect buyers of lithium ion batteries $19.5 million to settle multidistrict litigation (MDL) accusing the electronics giant and others of fixing battery prices. In a filed motion in California federal court seeking preliminary approval of the settlement, Sony said it will pay $19.5 million to consumers who indirectly purchased the batteries from January 2000 to May 2011. The parties also asked U.S. District Judge Yvonne Gonzalez Rogers to certify a nationwide class of buyers for purposes of the settlement, and also certify a separate class of governmental entities in California that indirectly bought the batteries.
The proposed settlement follows Sony’s deal announced in February to pay $19 million to direct purchasers such as the defunct retailer Circuit City. That settlement was approved by Judge Rogers in March. The MDL alleges that both direct purchasers and indirect purchasers – consumers and resellers – paid higher prices as a result of an alleged price-fixing conspiracy involving Sony, LG Chem America, Toshiba Corp., NEC Corp. and other makers of rechargeable lithium ion batteries, which are widely used in laptop computers and other electronic devices. Under terms of the new settlement, Sony is required to cooperate in the case against the remaining Defendants. If approved, Sony will become the first of the Defendants to settle out of the case, which was centralized in California in 2014.
A hearing on the motion for preliminary approval of the settlement is scheduled for May 24. In January, the indirect and direct purchasers urged Judge Rogers to grant class certification, arguing that the battery manufacturers’ alleged conspiracy became a “way of life” as they continued to collude on prices and production. The separate motions for class certification noted that Sanyo and LG had both pled guilty to criminal price-fixing allegations over lithium ion batteries brought by the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) and said there is ample evidence of nationwide price fixing that supports class certifications. Sanyo and LG reached plea agreements with the government in 2013. In March, Judge Rogers denied Toshiba’s request to be removed from the MDL, saying Toshiba may have had a role in the alleged conspiracy despite no longer controlling a lithium manufacturing business.
Contact us today for a free legal consultation with an experienced attorney.
Fields marked *may be required for submission.
If you would like to subscribe to the Jere Beasley Report digital edition, simply visit our Subscriptions page and provide the necessary information or call us at 800-898-2034.
Attorney Advertising - Prior results do not guarantee a similar outcome.