The Joseph Saveri Law Firm is currently representing direct purchasers of aluminum and tantalum electrolytic capacitors and film capacitors in a consolidated class action lawsuit, after filing the first capacitors antitrust case on behalf of Plaintiff Chip-Tech, Ltd. in federal court in San Francisco on July 18, 2014. Defendants in the capacitors case include: Panasonic, NEC Tokin, KEMET, Nippon Chemi-Con, Hitachi Chemical, Nichicon, AVX, Rubycon, Elna, Toshin Kogyo, Matsuo, and ROHM.
Capacitors are devices placed in electric circuits that temporarily store electrical charge. Practically every electronic device we buy today – from large industrial machinery to the smallest consumer products – contains capacitors, sometimes numbering in the hundreds, to ensure that they work properly. Trillions of capacitors are manufactured each year.
The Direct Purchaser Plaintiffs allege that defendant capacitor manufacturers have conspired for nearly a decade to end price competition among themselves for their aluminum and tantalum electrolytic capacitor and film capacitor products. As the Complaint alleges, faced with declining demand for these capacitors, the defendant manufacturers agreed to collusively establish noncompetitive prices for their products and concertedly set production lead times to restrict the amount of their mutually interchangeable capacitor products available in both the global and U.S. markets.
Such illegal price fixing has drawn the attention of law enforcement and competition authorities around the globe, and at least one manufacturer, Panasonic, has sought amnesty from prosecution by U.S. and Chinese authorities in exchange for its admission of illegal price fixing. On September 2, 2015, NEC Tokin became the first capacitors manufacturer to announce that it would plead guilty to a criminal charge of violating Section 1 of the Sherman Act – the federal antitrust statute – for conspiring to fix prices on its capacitors sold in the United States and elsewhere.
Direct Purchaser Plaintiffs seek treble damages for the Named Plaintiffs and a class of similarly situated direct purchasers, based on any direct purchases of aluminum and electrolytic capacitors and film capacitors they may have made from the defendant manufacturers from at least January 1, 2002 to present.
On July 22, 2014, the Joseph Saveri Law Firm filed an additional Complaint on behalf of Plaintiff Dependable Component Supply Corporation.
On August 7, 2014, Plaintiffs filed a Notice of Pendency to inform the Court that a related case had been filed in federal court in New Jersey, and that Plaintiffs had that same day initiated multidistrict litigation proceedings before the Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation to seek transfer and consolidation of all capacitors cases before the Northern District of California.
On August 14, 2014, United States District Judge James Donato of the United States District Court for the Northern District of California, presiding over both cases, issued an Order consolidating the Chip-Tech and Dependable Component Supply actions for all pretrial proceedings.
On September 15, 2014, Plaintiffs submitted a Joint Status Report to inform the Court that counsel for all pending capacitors cases brought on behalf of direct purchasers had reached agreement on case leadership and agreed to transfer all pending direct purchaser cases to the Northern District of California, thereby mooting the pending multidistrict litigation.
On September 16, 2014, Plaintiffs filed an Unopposed Motion to Appoint Interim Class Counsel Pursuant to Fed. R. Civ. P. 23(g).
On October 2, 2014, the Court issued a Consolidation and Case Management Order setting an Initial Case Management Conference for October 29, 2014, following a hearing on the unopposed motions to appoint interim class counsel.
On October 29, 2014, the Court held a motion hearing, conducted the Initial Case Management Conference, and issued various orders memorialized in a Minute Order issued the following day, October 30, 2014.
On October 31, 2014, the Court issued an Order appointing Joseph Saveri Law Firm, Inc. as interim lead class counsel for the proposed direct purchaser class.
On November 13, 2014, the Court issued a Scheduling Order setting the dates for filing consolidated class action complaints, briefing on motions to dismiss, and quarterly status conferences, among other things.
On December 4, 2014, following an Order of the Court granting Defendants’ unopposed Motion to Unseal, Direct Purchaser Plaintiffs filed the unredacted version of their Consolidated Class Action Complaint in the public record.
On December 19, 2014, Defendants filed a Joint Motion to Dismiss the Direct Purchaser Plaintiffs’ Complaint, as well as Consolidated Motions to Dismiss the Direct Purchasers’ Complaint on individual issues. That same day, Defendant Nippon Chemi-Con Corporation filed a separate Motion to Dismiss for Lack of Personal Jurisdiction.
On January 16, 2015, Direct Purchaser Plaintiffs filed their consolidated Opposition to Defendants’ Joint Motion to Dismiss and Consolidated Motions to Dismiss on individual issues.
On April 16, 2015, Plaintiffs filed their Opposition to Defendant Nippon Chemi-Con’s Motion to Dismiss for Lack of Personal Jurisdiction.
On May 1, 2015, Defendant Nippon Chemi-Con Corporation filed a Reply in support of its Motion to Dismiss for Lack of Personal Jurisdiction.
On May 26, 2015, the Court issued an Order denying the Joint Motion to Dismiss the case, denying many of the Consolidated Motions to Dismiss the Direct Purchaser Plaintiffs’ Complaint on individual issues, and granting certain of the Consolidated Motions to Dismiss with leave to amend.
On June 3, 2015, the parties submitted a Joint Statement regarding the proposed case schedule.
On June 8, 2015, the Court issued an Amended Scheduling Order adopting the parties’ jointly-proposed dates and setting hearing and briefing schedules for motions on the Foreign Trade Antitrust Improvements Act (FTAIA) and class certification.
On June 11, 2015, the Court issued an Order denying Defendant Nippon Chemi-Con Corporation’s Motion to Dismiss for Lack of Personal Jurisdiction.
On June 16, 2015, Direct Purchaser Plaintiffs filed their First Amended Consolidated Class Action Complaint.
On July 22, 2015, Direct Purchase Plaintiffs filed their Second Amended Consolidated Complaint.
On December 30, 2015, the Court issued an Order denying Defendants’ motions (except for American Shizuki Corporation’s motion) to dismiss Direct Purchaser Plaintiffs’ claims.
On November 10, 2016, the Court entered an order preliminarily certifying a settlement class of direct purchasers in a class action lawsuit involving alleged agreements among certain manufacturers to raise or stabilize the prices for aluminum, tantalum and film capacitors (“Capacitors”).
On January 27, 2017, the Court preliminarily approved proposed settlements totaling $32,600,000 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 (collectively, the “Settling Defendants”) in partial settlement of the class action lawsuit (the “Settlement Agreements”). The lawsuit is continuing against the remaining 31 defendants grouped within 17 corporate families. Please click here to obtain further information on the partial settlements.