SAN FRANCISCO – A class-action settlement case has been set up by Hagens Berman Sobol Shapiro LLP for owners of optical disc drives manufactured by four electronics companies in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California.
Through litigation, Hagans Berman is in the process of securing settlement payments of $124.5 million from manufacturers Panasonic Corp., Panasonic Corp. of North America, NEC Corp., Sony Corp., Sony Optiarc Inc., Sony Optiarc America Inc. and Hitachi-LG Data Storage Inc. and Hitachi-LG Data Storage Korea Inc. for optical disc drives, which the suit states the companies colluded to price fix the sale of these products.
“Through our investigation, our firm found that manufacturers of almost all optical disc drives (ODDs) colluded to stabilize the prices of ODDs worldwide, artificially and illegally raising prices for consumers across the country,” Steve Berman, managing partner at Hagens Berman, told the Northern California Record. “This litigation seeks to return millions of dollars in ill-gotten profits to honest purchasers who were blindsided by this scheme. To date, we have recovered $124.5 million.”
To be eligible for the settlement, individuals would have had to purchase a computer with an internal optical disc drive, a stand-alone optical disc drive for internal use in a computer or an optical disc drive designed for external use with a computer. The optical disc drive refers to DVD-RW, DVD-ROM or Combo drive that have been manufactured by one of the defendants.
Purchases needed to have been completed between April 2003 and December 2008 by a resident of Arizona, California, District of Columbia, Florida, Hawaii, Kansas, Maine, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, Oregon, Tennessee, Utah, Vermont, West Virginia or Wisconsin.
Claims can be filed on the court-approved settlement website www.opticaldiskdriveantitrust.com. Settlement awards include businesses as well as individuals that have purchased the optical disc drives.
“The simple online claim form only takes 3 to 5 minutes for most individuals,” said Berman. “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.”
Hagens Berman has identified settlements for recovery from Panasonic for $16.5 million, NEC for $6.5 million, Sony for $28.5 million and Hitachi-LG Data Storage for $73 million. According to the company, if final approval is granted for the class-action case, those who have filed valid and timely claims will receive payment, which will be based on the quantity of optical disc drives purchased and number of claims made by the class member.
Class members can choose to exclude themselves from the settlements and litigation and keep their right to an individual lawsuit by declining benefits from the settlement in a written exclusion form postmarked by Oct. 19.
The final approval hearing for the settlement case will be held on Dec. 8 in San Francisco.