ABOUT THE CASE

In this class action lawsuit, filed in July 2014, the Joseph Saveri Law Firm is sole lead counsel in a suit against capacitor manufacturers for alleged price-fixing. The lawsuit, filed in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California, was brought on behalf of nearly two dozen electronic component manufacturers that were direct purchasers of aluminum, tantalum, and film capacitors.

The lawsuit alleges that these capacitor manufacturers, faced with declining demand, agreed to raise, fix, and stabilize capacitor prices. Capacitors are electronic circuit components that temporarily store electrical charge, and nearly every electronic device manufactured today contains them. Trillions of capacitors of various size, capacitance, and materials are manufactured each year. Price-fixing in the multibillion-dollar market for aluminum, tantalum, and film capacitors may have started as far back as 2002 and continued through at least 2013.

The U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ), along with regulators in China, Japan, South Korea, Singapore, Taiwan, Canada, Brazil, and Europe, has actively investigated the price-fixing allegations, and many have imposed fines against some or all of these same defendant manufacturers. One Japanese corporation requested that the DOJ grant it amnesty from prosecution in exchange for reporting about the capacitor manufacturers’ illegal collusive conduct. To date, eight additional capacitors manufacturers and two of their individual executives have pleaded guilty and been sentenced for violating federal antitrust laws following their plea agreements with the DOJ. Additional related executives remain under indictment.

Through this lawsuit, the firm seeks relief for direct purchasers of capacitors including, among other things, recovery of treble damages for the unlawful overcharge on capacitors resulting from defendants’ collusion.

To date, the firm has reached five rounds of settlements totaling $604,550,000 with various defendants.


SETTLEMENTS TO DATE

Round 5 | 2021 | $165 million

During the trial, the class reached settlements totaling $165 million with capacitor maker Nippon Chemi-Con and its U.S. subsidiary, and also Matsuo Electric Co. Ltd. In May 2022, the Court granted preliminary approval of these settlements.

Round 4 | 2020 | $232.05 million

The Class reached additional settlements totaling $232.05 million with defendants AVX, Elna, Holy Stone, Kemet, Panasonic, Shinyei, Shizuki, and Taitsu. On November 6, 2020, the Court approved these settlements and distribution of funds took place September 8, 2021.

Round 3 | 2019 | $108 million

The Court approved a third round of settlements with defendants Nichicon and Rubycon, creating an additional all-cash fund of $108 million. Settlement funds were distributed in May 2021.

Round 2 | 2018 | $66.9 million

A second-round all-cash fund of $66.9 million was established for settlements reached against defendants Hitachi Chemical and Soshin. The Court has approved these settlements and the funds were distributed in March 2021.

Round 1 | 2017 | $32.6 million

A first-round settlement total of $32.6 million in cash and secure agreements was reached against defendants: Fujitsu Limited; NEC TOKIN Corporation and NEC TOKIN America, Inc.; Nitsuko Electronics Corporation; Okaya Electric Industries Co., Ltd. and Okaya Electric America, Inc.; and ROHM Co., Ltd. and ROHM Semiconductor USA, Inc. Settlement funds have been fully distributed.


GAVEL-ON-BLACK-BACKGROUND-1

CASE STATUS AND 2021 TRIAL

The case’s first trial took place in March 2020 in the United States District Court for the Northern District of California. On March 3, the direct purchaser plaintiffs delivered their opening statement, which is viewable via transcript.

Two weeks later, due to the coronavirus/COVID-19 pandemic, the Court suspended trial proceedings and later declared a mistrial, concluding that the trial could not resume until a future date and that it would have to release the jury.

A new trial in the same Court against the two remaining defendants, Nippon Chemi-con and Matsuo Electric Co., commenced on November 29, 2021, at which time direct purchaser plaintiffs delivered their opening statement. On December 1, 2021, Matsuo Electric Co. Ltd. reached a settlement with the Class. On December 14, 2021, ahead of closing arguments, Nippon Chemi-Con and its U.S. subsidiary reached a settlement with the Class. On May 26, 2022, the Court granted preliminary approval of both settlements.


For further information, please see Joseph Saveri's commentary on the case and the In Re Capacitors Antitrust Litigation direct purchaser settlement website.

CLICK HERE FOR THE FULL CASE HISTORY +

FEBRUARY 28, 2019

Judge James Donato of the United States District Court for the Northern District of California entered an order granting plaintiffs’ motion for preliminary approval of direct purchaser plaintiffs’ class action settlements with defendants Nichicon and Rubycon.

FEBRUARY 28, 2019

The Court entered an order granting plaintiffs’ motion for preliminary approval of direct purchaser plaintiffs’ class action settlements with defendants Nichicon and Rubycon.

DECEMBER 18, 2018

Direct purchaser plaintiffs submitted to the Court a motion for preliminary approval of class action settlements with defendants Nichicon and Rubycon. The settlements created an all-cash fund of $108 million.

NOVEMBER 14, 2018

The Court entered an order granting direct purchaser plaintiffs’ motion for class certification. The order also denied defendants’ Daubert motions to exclude the DPP’s expert opinions.

JUNE 28, 2018

The Court entered an order granting class action settlement with defendants Hitachi Chemical and Soshin.

JUNE 27, 2018

The Court entered an order authorizing distribution of settlement funds for settlements reached against defendants: Fujitsu Limited; NEC TOKIN Corporation and NEC TOKIN America, Inc.; Nitsuko Electronics Corporation; Okaya Electric Industries Co., Ltd. and Okaya Electric America, Inc.; and ROHM Co., Ltd. and ROHM Semiconductor USA, Inc.

MARCH 2, 2018

The Court entered an order preliminarily certifying a settlement class of direct purchaser plaintiffs. Settlements totaling $66.9 million were reached with defendants Hitachi Chemical Co., Ltd., Hitachi AIC, Inc., Hitachi Chemical Co. America, Ltd.; Soshin Electric Co., Ltd., and Soshin Electronics of America Inc. The lawsuit continued against defendants that have not previously settled.

DECEMBER 21, 2017

Direct purchaser plaintiffs submitted to the Court a motion for preliminary approval of class action settlement with defendants Hitachi Chemical and Soshin. The settlements create an all-cash fund of $66.9 million for the benefit of the settlement class: $63 million for Hitachi Chemical and $3.9 million for Soshin. In addition, each of the settling defendants also agreed to cooperate with DPPs in their continued prosecution of their price-fixing claims against the non-settling defendants. DPPs requested that the Court grant preliminary approval of the settlement agreements, certify the settlement class, and approve the proposed plan of notice to the settlement class.

JUNE 27, 2017

The Court ordered in favor of direct purchaser plaintiffs, granting final approval of class action settlements with defendants Fujitsu Limited; NEC TOKIN Corporation and NEC TOKIN America, Inc.; Nitsuko Electronics Corporation; Okaya Electric Industries Co., Ltd. and Okaya Electric America, Inc.; and ROHM Co., Ltd. and ROHM Semiconductor USA, Inc. The settlements total $32.6 million in cash and secure agreements by each of the five settling defendants.

APRIL 2017

The Court approved direct purchaser plaintiffs’ settlement with defendants Fujitsu Limited; NEC TOKIN Corporation and NEC TOKIN America, Inc.; Nitsuko Electronics Corporation; Okaya Electric Industries Co., Ltd. and Okaya Electric America, Inc.; and ROHM Co., Ltd. and ROHM Semiconductor U.S.A., LLC totaling $32.6 million.

DECEMBER 30, 2015

The Court issued an order denying defendants’ motions (except for American Shizuki Corporation’s motion) to dismiss direct purchaser plaintiffs’ claims.

JULY 2014

The firm filed a class action lawsuit on behalf of direct purchasers of aluminum, tantalum, and film capacitors. The lawsuit seeks damages on behalf of a class of direct purchasers under Section 1 of the Sherman Act.