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Washington State v. Chimei Innolux Corp

October 3, 2011

WASHINGTON STATE; THE PEOPLE OF THE STATE OF CALIFORNIA, EX REL. KAMALA D. HARRIS, ATTORNEY GENERAL OF THE STATE OF CALIFORNIA, AS PARENS PATRIAE ON BEHALF OF NATURAL PERSONS RESIDING IN THE STATE; THE STATE OF CALIFORNIA; ALAMEDA COUNTY; CITY OF LONG BEACH; CITY OF LOS ANGELES; CITY OF OAKLAND; CITY OF SAN DIEGO; CITY AND COUNTY OF SAN FRANCISCO; CITY OF SAN JOSE; CONTRA COSTA COUNTY; CORONA- NORCO UNIFIED SCHOOL DISTRICT; ELK GROVE UNIFIED SCHOOL DISTRICT; FRESNO COUNTY; FRESNO UNIFIED SCHOOL DISTRICT; GARDEN GROVE UNIFIED SCHOOL DISTRICT; KERN COUNTY; LOS ANGELES COUNTY; LOS ANGELES UNIFIED SCHOOL DISTRICT; OAKLAND UNIFIED SCHOOL DISTRICT; ORANGE COUNTY; SACRAMENTO COUNTY; SAN DIEGO CITY UNIFIED SCHOOL DISTRICT; SAN FRANCISCO UNIFIED SCHOOL DISTRICT; SAN JOAQUIN COUNTY; SAN JUAN UNIFIED SCHOOL DISTRICT; SAN MATEO COUNTY; SANTA CLARA COUNTY; SANTA BARBARA COUNTY; SONOMA COUNTY; SWEETWATER UNION HIGH SCHOOL DISTRICT; TULARE COUNTY; VENTURA COUNTY; THE REGENTS OF THE UNIVERSITY OF CALIFORNIA, PLAINTIFFS-APPELLEES,
v.
CHIMEI INNOLUX CORP.; CHI MEI OPTOELECTRONICS USA, INC.; CMO JAPAN CO., LTD.; EPSON IMAGING DEVICES CORPORATION; HITACHI, LTD.; HITACHI DISPLAYS, LTD.; HITACHI ELECTRONICS DEVICES (USA), INC.; SAMSUNG ELECTRONICS CO., LTD.; SAMSUNG SEMICONDUCTOR, INC.; SAMSUNG ELECTRONICS AMERICA, INC.; SHARP CORPORATION; SHARP ELECTRONICS CORPORATION; TOSHIBA CORPORATION; TOSHIBA AMERICA ELECTRONICS COMPONENTS, INC.; TOSHIBA AMERICA INFORMATION SYSTEMS, INC.; TOSHIBA MOBILE DISPLAY TECHNOLOGY CO., LTD., FKA TOSHIBA MATSUSHITA DISPLAY TECHNOLOGY CO., LTD.; EPSON ELECTRONICS AMERICA, INC., DEFENDANTS-APPELLANTS.



Appeal from the United States District Court for the Northern District of California Susan Illston, District Judge, Presiding D.C. Nos. 3:10-cv-05212-SI 3:10-cv-05711-SI

The opinion of the court was delivered by: Thomas, Circuit Judge:

FOR PUBLICATION

OPINION

Argued and Submitted September 13, 2011-San Francisco, California

Before: Sidney R. Thomas and N. Randy Smith, Circuit Judges, and Solomon Oliver, Jr., Chief District Judge.*fn1

OPINION

This appeal presents the question, inter alia, of whether parens patriae actions filed by state Attorneys General constitute class actions within the meaning of the Class Action Fairness Act of 2005 ("CAFA"), Pub. L. No. 109-2, 119 Stat. 4 (codified at 28 U.S.C. §§ 1332(d), 1453, 1711-15). We conclude that they do not, and we affirm the remand order entered by the district court.

I

The Attorneys General of Washington and California filed parens patriae actions in their states' courts alleging that Defendants engaged in a conspiracy to fix the prices of thin-film transistor liquid crystal display ("TFT-LCD") panels, and that state agencies and consumers were injured by paying inflated prices for products containing TFT-LCD panels.

The complaints allege that between 1998 and 2006, Defendants engaged in an international conspiracy to fix the prices of TFT-LCD panels in violation of state antitrust laws, which resulted in higher prices for state agencies and citizens purchasing products containing TFT-LCD panels.*fn2

The Attorney General of Washington, in the name of the state and as parens patriae on behalf of state citizens, filed an antitrust lawsuit against Defendants in state court. The Attorney General's complaint in this litigation alleges violations of the Act and seeks: (1) declaratory and injunctive relief; (2) civil penalties; (3) and damages and restitution "to the State of Washington on behalf of its state agencies and consumers." The consumers are Washington residents who purchased finished products, such as televisions and cell phones, containing TFT-LCD panels.

The Attorney General of California filed a similar complaint in state court, as parens patriae on behalf of California residents. The California Attorney General's complaint alleges statutory violations and unjust enrichment and seeks:

(1) declaratory and injunctive relief; (2) civil penalties; and (3) restitution and treble damages for state agencies, municipalities, and California residents who purchased finished products containing TFT-LCD panels.

Defendants removed the California action to the United States District Court for the Northern District of California and the Washington action to the United States District Court for the Western District of Washington, alleging federal jurisdiction under CAFA. Specifically, Defendants alleged that consumers were the real parties in interest for the monetary relief claims, and ...


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