In a precedent-setting result, Bilzin Sumberg antitrust and commercial litigation attorneys recovered over $300 million for two opt-out plaintiffs in a nationwide multidistrict litigation (MDL). The recovery equates to more than 200 percent of the clients’ single damages and roughly three-fourths of the recovery by the entire class. Tech Data Corporation and the bankruptcy estate of All American Semiconductor alleged LCD manufacturers conspired to raise prices and control production capacity of LCD panels in violation of Section 1 of the Sherman Antitrust Act. The two companies said they were unlawfully overcharged over an eight-year period for LCD panels and products containing LCD panels. The LCD multidistrict litigation is one of the largest antitrust cases in recent U.S. history.
Bilzin Sumberg achieved success because it did not follow the traditional role of counsel to opt-out plaintiffs in large MDL litigations, which is simply tracking the course set by the predecessor plaintiffs. To the contrary, Bilzin Sumberg raised and addressed a number of factual and legal issues for the first time in the MDL. For example, Bilzin Sumberg identified an additional member of the conspiracy that was ignored by other parties. Bilzin Sumberg developed strong evidence regarding that conspirator’s participation in the conspiracy, which nearly doubled the value of the clients’ claims.
In addition, the Bilzin Sumberg team addressed the issue of whether a plaintiff in an antitrust case can recover damages based on its purchases of goods from a subsidiary or affiliate of a conspirator, which was an issue of first impression in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit. Likewise, one of the clients was the fifth opt-out plaintiff to face a motion to compel arbitration in the MDL. In all four prior cases, the District Court judge granted the motion to compel and forced the opt-out plaintiffs to arbitrate their claims. The Bilzin Sumberg team argued that its client’s arbitration agreement differed from the agreements the Court previously considered and that there were several salient factual distinctions between the client and the other plaintiffs. Even in the face of four prior orders, the judge issued an order that was a resounding victory for Bilzin Sumberg’s client, going so far as to address and accept all of Bilzin Sumberg’s arguments.