Florida Attorney General and gubernatorial candidate Bill McCollum made the announcement Tuesday that his office would be suing several of the world’s largest LCD manufacturers over a price-fixing scheme. According to a press release detailing the lawsuit, which will be filed in California’s federal court, “the defendants conspired to prevent competition and to increase prices for TFT-LCD panels, the most common form of LCD panels used in popular electronic devices such as desktop monitors, laptop screens, and flat-panel televisions.”
McCollum has been harsh on consumer rip-off schemes in the past. In fact, it has become a point of contention in the gubernatorial battle between him and opponent Rick Scott.
A new ad, funded by Florida First Initiative in support of McCollum, touts: “There’s nothing Republican about ripping off taxpayers. … There’s nothing Republican about criminal acts. … There’s nothing Republican about Rick Scott.”
In his office’s press release, McCollum had harsh words for LCD-makers: ”Competition results in better deals for consumers. … This massive conspiracy allegedly resulted in artificially and illegally inflated prices of certain LCD panels and the products that contain them at the expense of Floridians and governmental entities.”
The roster of defendants listed in the complaint is comprised of several big-name tech companies, including Sharp, LG, Samsung, and Toshiba. The suit claims that the defendants are guilty of violating the Sherman Act, the Florida Deceptive and Unfair Trade Practices Act, and the Florida Antitrust Act. According to Tuesday’s press release,
records subpoenaed by the Attorney General’s Office indicated the defendants allegedly organized the conspiracy at the highest level of their organizations in various secret mettings and telephone conversation over a period of years. … Florida’s antitrust laws allow fines of $1 million per corporate violation. The antitrust laws further provide for damages up to three times the amount lost due to the unlawful conduct.