If You Bought Electronics Such as a Portable Computer, Power Tool, Camcorder, and/or Other Items Containing a Lithium-Ion Cylindrical Battery Since 2000
A Federal Court authorized this Notice. This is not a solicitation from a lawyer.
- Please read this Notice and the Settlement Agreements available at www.reversethecharge.com carefully. Your legal rights may be affected whether you act or don’t act. This Notice is a summary, and it is not intended to, and does not, include all of the specific details of the Settlements. To obtain more specific details concerning the Settlements, please read the Settlement Agreements.
- A class action lawsuit has been brought on behalf of indirect purchasers of the following products that contained Lithium-Ion Cylindrical Batteries, which is a type of Lithium-Ion Battery (“Li-Ion Battery”): (i) portable computers; (ii) power tools; (iii) camcorders; or (iv) a replacement battery for any of these products.
- Plaintiffs claim that Defendants (listed below) and co-conspirators engaged in an unlawful conspiracy to fix, raise, maintain, or stabilize the prices of cylindrical Lithium-Ion Battery Cells (“Li-Ion Cells”). Plaintiffs further claim that indirect purchasers of the products listed above containing Lithium-Ion Cylindrical Batteries (“Li-Ion Cylindrical Batteries”) may recover for the effect that the conspiracy had on the prices of these devices. Plaintiffs allege that, as a result of the unlawful conspiracy involving cylindrical Li-Ion Cells, they and other indirect purchasers paid more for these products and replacement batteries than they would have paid absent the conspiracy. Defendants deny Plaintiffs’ claims.
- Settlements have been reached with LG Chem, Ltd. and LG Chem America, Inc. (“LG Chem”), Hitachi Maxell Ltd. and Maxell Corporation of America (“Hitachi Maxell”), and NEC Corporation (“NEC”), or collectively “the Settling Defendants.”
- Your legal rights will be affected whether you act or don’t act. This Notice includes information on the Settlements and the lawsuit. Please read the entire Notice carefully.
- The following rights and options – and deadlines to exercise them – are explained in this Notice.
|YOUR LEGAL RIGHTS AND OPTIONS|
|YOU MAY:||DUE DATE:|
|EXCLUDE YOURSELF||You will not be included in the Settlements from which you exclude yourself. You will receive no benefits from the Settlements, but you will keep any rights you currently have to sue LG Chem, Hitachi Maxell, and NEC about the claims in the case(s) from which you exclude yourself.||August 11, 2017|
|DO NOTHING NOW||You will be included in the Settlements and eligible to submit a claim for a payment (if you qualify). You will give up your rights to sue the Settling Defendants about the claims in these cases.|
|OBJECT TO THE SETTLEMENTS||If you do not exclude yourself, you can write to the Court explaining why you disagree with the Settlements.||August 11, 2017|
|GO TO THE HEARING||Ask to speak in Court about your opinion of the Settlements.||October 3, 2017|
|SUBMIT A CLAIM FOR PAYMENT||If you qualify, review the claim form online at www.reversethecharge.com and submit an online claim for payment.||July 19, 2018|
- The Court in charge of these cases still has to decide whether to finally approve the Settlements. Payments will be made only (1) if the Court approves the Settlements and after any appeals are resolved, and (2) after the Court approves a Distribution Plan to distribute the Settlement Fund minus expenses, any Court-approved attorneys’ fees, and service awards (“Net Settlement Funds”) to Class Members.
WHAT THIS NOTICE CONTAINS
- What Is This Notice About?
- What Is This Lawsuit About?
- Why Are There Settlements But The Litigation Is Continuing?
- Who Are The Non-Settling Defendant Companies?
- What Are Li-Ion Cells, Li-Ion Batteries, Cylindrical Li-Ion Batteries, And Finished Products?
- Why Is This A Class Action?
- How Do I Get Out Of The Class?
- If I Don’t Exclude Myself, Can I Sue For The Same Thing Later?
- If I Exclude Myself, Can I Still Get Money Benefits?
- How Do I Object To Or Comment On The Settlements?
- What Is The Difference Between Excluding Myself From The Class And Objecting To The Settlements?
- When And Where Will The Court Decide Whether To Approve The Settlements?
- Do I Have To Attend The Hearing?
- May I Speak At The Hearing?
- When And Where Will The Trial Against The Non-Settling Defendants Take Place?
- What Are The Plaintiffs Asking For From The Non-Settling Defendants?
- Will I Get Money After The Trial?
This Notice is to inform you about Settlements reached in this litigation, before the Court decides whether to finally approve the Settlements. This Notice explains the lawsuit, the Settlements, and your legal rights. The Court in charge is the United States District Court for the Northern District of California. This litigation is known as In re Lithium-Ion Batteries Antitrust Litigation – All Indirect Purchaser Actions, MDL No. 2420. The people who sued are called the “Plaintiffs.” The companies they sued are called the “Defendants.”
The lawsuit alleges that Defendants and co-conspirators conspired to raise and fix the prices of cylindrical Li-Ion Cells for over ten years, resulting in overcharges to indirect purchasers of portable computers, camcorders, and power tools containing Li-Ion Cylindrical Batteries. The complaint describes how the Defendants and co-conspirators allegedly violated the U.S. and state antitrust, unfair competition, and consumer protection laws by agreeing to fix prices and restrict output of these cells by, among other things, face-to-face meetings and other communications, customer allocation, and the use of trade associations. Defendants deny Plaintiffs’ allegations. The Court has not decided who is right.
Three groups of Defendants have agreed now to settle the lawsuit – LG Chem, Hitachi Maxell, and NEC. Previously, notice was provided about a settlement reached with Sony Corporation, Sony Energy Devices Corporation, and Sony Electronics Inc. (collectively “Sony”). In paragraph 9, below, there is information about how to get benefits from the Sony settlement. The case is continuing against the remaining Non-Settling Defendants. Additional money may become available in the future as a result of a trial or future settlements, but there is no guarantee that this will happen.
The Non-Settling Defendant companies include: Samsung SDI Co. Ltd.; Samsung SDI America, Inc.; Panasonic Corporation; Panasonic Corporation of North America; Sanyo Electric Co., Ltd.; Sanyo North America Corporation; NEC Tokin Corporation; and Toshiba Corporation.
For purposes of the Settlements:
- “Lithium-Ion Battery Cell(s)” or “Li-Ion Cells” means cylindrical, prismatic, or polymer cells used for the storage of power that is rechargeable and uses lithium-ion technology.
- “Lithium-Ion Battery Pack” means Lithium-Ion Battery Cells that have been assembled into a pack, regardless of the number of Lithium-Ion Cells contained in such packs.
- “Lithium-Ion Battery” or “Li-Ion Battery” means a Lithium-Ion Battery Cell or Lithium-Ion Battery Pack.
- “Lithium-Ion Cylindrical Battery” or “Li-Ion Cylindrical Battery” means a cylindrical Lithium-Ion Battery Cell or cylindrical Lithium-Ion Battery Pack.
- “Finished Product” means any product and/or electronic device that contains a Lithium-Ion Battery or Lithium-Ion Battery Pack, including but not limited to laptop PCs, notebook PCs, netbook computers, tablet computers, mobile phones, smart phones, cameras, camcorders, digital video cameras, digital audio players, and power tools.
In a class action, one or more people called the “Class representatives” sue on behalf of themselves and other people with similar claims in the specific class action. All of these people together are the “Class” or “Class Members.” In a class action, one court may resolve the issues for all Class Members, except for those who exclude themselves from the class.
The Class includes all persons and entities who, as residents of the United States and during the period from January 1, 2000 through May 31, 2011, indirectly purchased new for their own use and not for resale one of the following products which contained a lithium-ion cylindrical battery manufactured by one or more Defendants in this lawsuit or their co-conspirators: (i) a portable computer; (ii) a power tool; (iii) a camcorder; or (iv) a replacement battery for any of these products. “Indirectly” means the product was purchased from someone other than the manufacturer, such as a retail store.
The specific definition of who is included in the Class is set forth in the Settlement Agreements. The Settlement Agreements, and the related Complaints, are accessible on the website www.reversethecharge.com. Payments to Class Members may be made only: (1) if the Court approves the Settlements and after any appeals are resolved, and (2) in accordance with a Distribution Plan to distribute the Settlement Funds to Class Members after deducting expenses, Court-approved attorneys’ fees, and service awards (the portion of the Settlement Funds remaining after deducting expenses, Court-approved attorneys’ fees, and service awards, is called the “Net Settlement Fund”). The Court will determine the amount, if any, that each Class Member will receive.
The Settlement Fund is $64.45 million. After deduction of attorneys’ fees, service awards, notice and administration costs, and litigation expenses, as approved by the Court, the remaining Settlement Fund will be available for distribution to Class Members who timely file valid claims. The Settlements also includes non-monetary relief, including cooperation in the litigation. More details about the Settlements are set forth in the Settlement Agreements, available at www.reversethecharge.com.
At this time, it is unknown how much each Class Member who submits a valid claim will receive. Payments from the LG Chem, Hitachi Maxell, and NEC Settlements will be distributed to Class Members based on a number of factors, including the number of valid claims filed by all Class Members and each Class Member’s number of purchase(s) of the following products which contained a lithium-ion cylindrical battery: (i) a portable computer; (ii) a power tool; (iii) a camcorder; or (iv) a replacement battery for any of these products, in proportion to the total claims filed and products purchased. To the extent that there is any balance remaining in the Net Settlement Fund and money is not able to be reasonably redistributed to class members, remaining funds will distributed to the Attorneys General for the class jurisdictions for use in prosecuting consumer antitrust claims. No matter how many claims are filed or how the funds are distributed, no money will be returned to the Settling Defendants once the Court finally approves the Settlements.
Previously, notice was provided about a settlement reached with Sony for $19.5 million. The claims period for that settlement will be opened up and occur during the same time period as the claims period for the LG Chem, Hitachi Maxell, and NEC settlements, and it will also end on July 19, 2018. Payments to Class Members from the Sony settlement will be based on a number of factors, including the number of valid claims filed by all members of the Sony Class and each Class Member’s number of purchase(s) of Finished Products or a replacement battery for any of these Finished Products, in proportion to the total claims filed and products purchased. To the extent that there is any balance remaining in this Net Settlement Fund and money is not able to be reasonably redistributed to class members, remaining funds will distributed to the Attorneys General for the class jurisdictions for use in prosecuting consumer antitrust claims. No matter how many claims are filed or how the funds are distributed, no money will be returned to the Settling Sony Defendants once the Court finally approves the Settlement. You must submit a claim during the claim period to receive money from the Sony Settlement.
To make a claim and get payment, you will need to file a valid claim form online by July 19, 2018. The simple online claim form only takes 3-5 minutes for most individuals to complete. The same products are not covered by all of the settlements, and thus filling out the claim form as accurately and completely as possible is important to ensure that Class Members submitting valid claims receive a correct share of the Settlements.
If final approval is granted to the settlements, Class Members who have filed valid and timely claims will receive cash payments and may receive them distributed directly into an online account (as possible examples only, an Amazon account or PayPal account). If you are a Class Member with valid and timely claims and would prefer to receive a physical check, please submit a written request by July 19, 2018 to Lithium Batteries Indirect Purchaser Settlements, c/o KCC Class Action Services, P.O. Box 43454, Providence, RI 02940-3454.
The timing of the distribution will be requested by Plaintiffs’ lawyers and approved by the Court. It may not occur until the settlements are final, through resolution of any appeals. The lawyers for the Plaintiffs will continue to pursue the lawsuit against the Non-Settling Defendants. All Settlement Funds that remain after payment of the Court-ordered attorneys’ fees, service awards, costs, and expenses will be distributed within 45 days of the final judgment (which includes resolution of any appeals), unless modified by the Court.
You will give up your right to sue the Settling Defendants on your own for the claims described in detail in the Settlement Agreements unless you exclude yourself from the Class. You also will be bound by any decisions by the Court relating to the Settlements. In return for paying the Settlement Amounts and providing the non-monetary benefits, the Settling Defendants (and certain related entities defined in the Settlement Agreements) will be released from claims relating to the alleged conduct pertaining to any indirect purchase of cylindrical, prismatic, or polymer battery cells or packs (including cylindrical, prismatic, or polymer battery cells or packs contained in finished products). The Settlement Agreements describe the released claims in detail, so read them carefully since those releases will be binding on you if the Court approves the Settlements. If you have any questions, you can talk with Class Counsel for free, or you can, of course, talk with your own lawyer (at your own expense) if you have questions about what this means. The Settlement Agreements and the specific releases are available at www.reversethecharge.com.
To exclude yourself from the Class, you must send a letter by mail stating that you want to be excluded from In re Lithium-Ion Batteries Antitrust Litigation – All Indirect Purchaser Actions, MDL No. 2420, Indirect Purchaser Settlements. Your letter must also include:
- Your name, address, and telephone number;
- A statement saying that you want to be excluded from In re Lithium-Ion Batteries Antitrust Litigation – All Indirect Purchaser Actions, MDL No. 2420, Indirect Purchaser Settlements; and
- Your signature.
You must mail your exclusion request postmarked no later than August 11, 2017, to:
Lithium Batteries Indirect Purchaser Settlements
c/o KCC Class Action Services
P.O. Box 43454
Providence, RI 02940-3454
No. Unless you exclude yourself, you give up any right to sue the Settling Defendants for the claims being released in
No. If you exclude yourself from the Settlement Class in these Settlements, you will not get any money as a result of the Settlements.
The Court has appointed the following lawyers as Class Counsel to represent you and all other members of the Class:
Steven N. Williams, Esq.
Cotchett, Pitre & McCarthy, LLP
San Francisco Airport Office Center
840 Malcolm Road, Suite 200
Burlingame, CA 94010
Jeff Friedman, Esq.
Hagens Berman Sobol Shapiro LLP
715 Hearst Avenue, Suite 202
Berkeley, CA 94710
Brendan P. Glackin, Esq.
Lieff Cabraser Heimann
& Bernstein, LLP
275 Battery Street, 29th Floor
San Francisco, CA 94111-3339
You will not be charged for these lawyers. If you want to be represented by your own lawyer, you may hire one at your own expense.
At the Final Fairness Hearing, Class Counsel will ask the Court to reimburse them for certain fees, costs, and expenses. At the Final Fairness Hearing, or at a later date, Class Counsel will ask the Court for attorneys’ fees based on their services in this litigation, not to exceed 30% of the $64.45 million Settlement Fund. Any payment to the attorneys will be subject to Court approval, and the Court may award less than the requested amount.
At the Final Fairness Hearing, Class Counsel also will ask the Court to provide service awards to the Class representatives in the amount of $1,500 each for the work they have undertaken on behalf of the Plaintiffs. Any service award will be subject to Court approval, and the Court may award less than the requested amount.
The attorneys’ fees, costs, expenses, and service awards that the Court orders, plus the costs to administer the Settlements, will come out of the Settlement Fund. Class Counsel may seek additional attorneys’ fees, costs, and expenses, as well as service awards, from any other settlements or recoveries obtained in the future.
When Class Counsel’s motion for fees, costs, expenses, and service awards is filed, it will be available at www.reversethecharge.com. The motion will be posted on the website 14 days before the deadline for requests for exclusion or objections to the settlement, and you will have an opportunity to comment on the motion.
If you have objections to or comments about any aspect of the Settlements, you may express your views to the Court. You can object to or comment on the Settlements only if you do not exclude yourself from the Class. To object to or comment on the Settlements, you must:
- Specify in writing your name, address, and telephone number;
- Clearly identify in writing the case name, number, and settlement (In re Lithium-Ion Batteries Antitrust Litigation – All Indirect Purchaser Actions, MDL No. 2420, Indirect Purchaser Settlements);
- Submit your letter to the Court either by mailing it to the Class Action Clerk, United States District Court for the Northern District of California, 1301 Clay Street, Oakland, CA 94612, or by filing it in person at any location of the United States District Court for the Northern District of California; and
- Make sure that the letter is filed or postmarked on or before August 11, 2017.
If you exclude yourself from the Class, you are telling the Court that you do not want to participate in the Settlements. Therefore, you will not be eligible to receive any benefits from the Settlements, and you will not be able to object to the Settlements. Objecting to a Settlement simply means telling the Court that you do not like something about the Settlements. Objecting does not make you ineligible to receive a payment.
The Court will hold a hearing to decide whether to approve the Settlements and any requests by Class Counsel for fees, costs, expenses, and Class representative service awards. You may attend and you may ask to speak, but you do not have to do so.
The Court will hold a Final Fairness Hearing at 2:00 p.m. on October 3, 2017, at the United States Courthouse, 1301 Clay Street, Courtroom 1, 4th Floor, Oakland, CA 94612. The hearing may be moved to a different date or time without additional notice, so check the Court’s PACER site, www.reversethecharge.com, or call 1-855-730-8645 to confirm the date has not been changed. At this hearing, the Court will consider whether the Settlements are fair, reasonable, and adequate. If there are objections or comments, the Court will consider them at that time and may listen to people who have asked to speak at the hearing. The Court may also decide how much to pay Class Counsel, or to provide service awards. At or after the hearing, the Court will decide whether to approve the Settlement.
No. Class Counsel will answer any questions the Court may have. But you are welcome to attend at your expense. If you send an objection or comment, you do not have to come to Court to talk about it. As long as you mailed your written objection on time, the Court will consider it. You may also hire your own lawyer at your own expense to attend on your behalf, but you are not required to do so.
If you send an objection or comment on the Settlements, you may have the right to speak at the Final Fairness Hearing as determined by the Court. You cannot speak at the hearing if you exclude yourself from the Class.
If the case against the Non-Settling Defendants is not dismissed or settled, the Plaintiffs will have to prove their claims against the Non-Settling Defendants at trial. Trial dates have not yet been set.
At the trial, a decision will be reached about whether the Plaintiffs or the Non-Settling Defendants are right about the claims in the lawsuit. There is no guarantee that the Plaintiffs will win any money or other benefits for Class Members at trial.
The Class representatives are asking for money for Class Members. The Class representatives are also seeking an order to prohibit the Non-Settling Defendants from engaging in the alleged behavior that is the subject of the lawsuit.
If the Plaintiffs obtain money or benefits as a result of a trial or settlement, Class Members will be notified about how to ask for a share or what their other options are at that time. These things are not known right now.
This Notice summarizes the Settlements. More details are in the Settlement Agreements. You can get copies of the Settlement Agreements and more information about the Settlements at www.ReverseTheCharge.com. You also may write with questions to Lithium Batteries Indirect Purchaser Settlements, c/o KCC Class Action Services, P.O. Box 43454, Providence, RI 02940-3454 or call the toll-free number 1-855-730-8645.
DO NOT CONTACT THE COURT, THE OFFICE OF THE CLERK OF THE COURT,
DEFENDANTS OR THEIR COUNSEL REGARDING THIS NOTICE
By Order of the Court
United States District Court