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Legal Technology: AT&T Wins Key Ruling in Price Fixing Suit

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February 19, 2013

AT&T Wins Key Ruling in Price Fixing Suit

By Oliver VanDervoort, Contributing Writer

It may surprise some outside the tech world to find out just how often a price fixing scheme is uncovered. On the other hand, there are probably people who assume that price fixing is going on all the time. For those who believe that price fixing is prevalent, reports of companies like Apple engaging in the practice probably only fuel that fire. When it comes to price fixing, the only way to really combat it is to shed light on the issue and then take the perpetrators to court.

Recently, AT&T (News - Alert) did just that and Telecom Company won a ruling in a price-fixing lawsuit that was brought against several Liquid Crystal Display (LCD) makers.

AT&T had taken its case to the 9th Circuit US Court of Appeals when a lower court had ruled that AT&Ts claims against the price fixing conglomerate had violated the “due process” clause of the United States Constitution. By reversing that ruling, the higher court found that California’s anti-trust statute, known as the Cartwright Act, can be applied as long as some of the price fixing took place in California.

The defendants, who include Samsung (News - Alert) and AU Optronics, declined to make a comment after the ruling. AT&T’s spokesman, Marty Richter had a short statement that stated that the company was happy with the Appeals Court ruling.

AT&T’s lawsuit is just one of several that have been filed against the LCD cartel. Currently, there is also an ongoing criminal investigation against the group. AU Optronics (News - Alert) has already been found guilty of engaging in illegal practices. Two of the company’s executives were convicted in a jury trial in California last year.

The victory by AT&T is just the first step, one that allows the company to continue the lawsuit against the group that went ahead with the price fixing. The next step will be an actual lawsuit where the Telecom giant will most likely be going after damages.

Edited by Brooke Neuman



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