United States District Court, N.D. California
IN RE CATHODE RAY TUBE CRT ANTITRUST LITIGATION MDL No. 1917 This Relates To: ALL DIRECT ACTION PLAINTIFFS
ORDER ON DEFENDANTS’ MOTIONS FOR SUMMARY
JUDGEMENT RELATING TO STATE LAW CLAIMS
TIGAR United States District Judge.
before the Court are two motions for summary judgment asking
the Court to dismiss Direct Action Purchaser
(“DAP”) Costco’s state law claims on due
process, ECF Nos. 3029 (“DP Mot.”), and
choice-of-law grounds, ECF No. 2997 (“COL Mot.”).
The parties submitted a consolidated Opposition, ECF No. 3264
(“Opp’n”), and consolidated Reply, 3469
(“Reply”), to both motions. Due to various
settlements and dismissals after the filing of these motions,
Costco’s California claims are the only remaining
claims at issue. Oral argument was held on March 28, 2016.
Defendants’ choice-of-law motion is GRANTED, and their
due process motion is DENIED as MOOT.
history of this case is well known to parties. By way of
summation, this case is predicated upon an alleged conspiracy
to price-fix cathode ray tubes (“CRTs”), a core
component of tube-style screens for common devices including
televisions and computer monitors. This conspiracy ran from
March 1, 1995 to November 25, 2007 (the “Conspiracy
Period”), involved many of the major companies that
produced CRTs, and allegedly resulted in overcharges of
billions of U.S. dollars to domestic companies that purchased
and sold CRTs or products containing CRTs (“CRT
Finished Products”) for purposes such as personal use.
A civil suit was originally filed in 2007, ECF No. 1,
consolidated by the Joint Panel on Multidistrict Litigation
shortly thereafter, see ECF No. 122, assigned as a
Multidistrict Litigation case (“MDL”) to Judge
Samuel Conti, see id., and ultimately transferred to
the undersigned, see ECF No. 4162.
addition to two class actions, this MDL involves various
direct actions from individual plaintiffs who have opted out
of the class actions. Each DAP alleges that it bought at
least one CRT Finished Product from a Defendant or an entity
owned or controlled by a Defendant. The DAPs, despite their
moniker, are classified as indirect purchasers under
antitrust law -- not direct purchasers. Defendants bring the
instant motions against DAP Costco.
filed indirect purchaser claims under California law for CRT
Finished Product purchases it made during the Conspiracy
Period for its stores throughout the United States. Because
Costco filed its lawsuit in Washington before the case was
transferred to this Court, Washington’s choice-of-law
rules apply. In re Nucorp Energy Sec. Litig., 772
F.2d 1486, 1492 (9th Cir. 1985) (holding that courts apply
the choice-of-law rules of each state where the individual
actions of an MDL were originally filed). Defendants argue in
their choice-of-law motion that Washington’s
choice-of-law rules dictate that Washington law should apply.
Accordingly, they ask the Court to dismiss Costco’s
California claims. In their due process motion, Defendants
argue that Costco’s California claims should be
dismissed for the independent reason that they violate due
process. Insofar as Washington law applies, however,
Defendants’ due process motion is moot.
instant motions turn on California’s and
Washington’s respective contacts with the parties and
the underlying transactions. In 1993, Costco merged with
Price Club, a California company, and incorporated in
Delaware. In 1999, however, Costco reincorporated in
Washington. Costco’s headquarters were located in
Washington throughout the Conspiracy Period, though Costco
states that some executive offices were also located in
California for an unspecified amount of time after the merger
with Price Club.
purchases of CRT Finished Products started with a buyer
located in its Washington headquarters who chose vendors and
negotiated price, quantity, and time of delivery. Purchase
orders were then created in and issued directly to the vendor
from either Costco’s headquarters in Washington or
Costco’s regional offices throughout the country. Once
a purchase order was issued, the product was delivered
directly to Costco’s depots or stores. Personnel at
those locations signed the bill of lading or other shipping
document and accepted delivery, at which point Costco’s
payment obligation arose and title transferred. Payment was
then remitted from Costco’s Washington
headquarters. Costco purchased and received more than
four million CRT Finished Products for its California
locations using this process, more than its stores in any
Defendants allegedly engaged in conspiratorial conduct
throughout the world, Costco presents evidence that some of
this activity occurred in California. For example, on June
20, 2000, San Diego-based HED(US) employee Yuri Mitsumoto
circulated an email containing future production capacity
plans of competitor American Matsushita Electronics Company.
See ECF No. 3265-8, Ex. 29. In addition, on July 24,
2001, Mitsumoto sent HED(US) employee Tom Heiser an email
confirming that he “talked with Samsung Chunghwa sales
manager on the phone” and reported to Heiser the CRT
pricing plans he had obtained. See ECF No. 3265-8,
Ex. 28. Finally, Hirokazu Nishimaya from Panasonic testified
that he exchanged “production information and
capacity” with Hitachi employees at a trade-association
meeting in La Quinta, California. ECF No. 3265-8, Ex. 32 at
judgment is proper when a “movant shows that there is
no genuine dispute as to any material fact and the movant is
entitled to judgment as a matter of law.” Fed.R.Civ.P.
56(a); accord Celotex Corp. v. Catrett, 477 U.S.
317, 323-24 (1986). “A party asserting that a fact
cannot be or is genuinely disputed must support the assertion
by” citing to depositions, documents, affidavits, or
other materials. Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(c)(1)(A). A party also may
show that such materials “do not establish the absence
or presence of a genuine dispute, or that an adverse party
cannot produce admissible evidence to support the
fact.” Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(c)(1)(B). An issue is
“genuine” only if there is sufficient evidence
for a reasonable fact-finder to find for the non-moving
party. Anderson v. Liberty Lobby, Inc., 477 U.S.
242, 248-49 (1986). A fact is “material” if the
fact may affect the outcome of the case. Id. at 248.
“In considering a motion for summary judgment, the
court may not weigh the evidence or make credibility
determinations, and is required to draw all inferences in a
light most favorable to the non-moving party.”
Freeman v. Arpaio, 125 F.3d 732, 735 (9th Cir.
1997). However, unsupported conjecture or conclusory
statements do not create a genuine dispute as to material
fact and will not defeat summary judgment. Surrell v.
Cal. Water Serv. Co., 518 F.3d 1097, 1103 (9th Cir.
claims on which the defendant does not carry the ultimate
burden of persuasion, defendant as the moving party has the
burden of producing evidence that negates an essential
element of each claim on which it seeks judgment or showing
that the plaintiff cannot produce evidence sufficient to
satisfy the burden of proof at trial. See Nissan Fire
& Marine Ins. Co. v. Fritz Cos.,210 F.3d 1099, 1102
(9th Cir. 2000). If the moving party satisfies its initial
burden of production, then the nonmoving party must produce
admissible evidence to show that a genuine issue of material
fact exists. Id. at 1102-1103. The non-moving party
must “identify with reasonable particularity the
evidence that precludes summary judgment.” Keenan
v. Allan,91 F.3d 1275, 1279 (9th Cir. 1996).
“Specific citations, not bulk references, are essential
to pinpoint key facts and factual disputes. [A] district
court [i]s not required to put the puzzle together from a
boxful of facts, and . . . may permissibly decide the motion
without mining [an] entire document for more
substantiation” when a citation offers only a
“breezy reference” to a part of an “82-page
report” not otherwise cited or explained in briefing.
Stanislaus Food Products Co. v. USS-POSCO Indus.,
803 F.3d 1084, 1094-95 (9th Cir. Oct. 13, 2015). “A
mere scintilla of evidence will not be sufficient to defeat a
properly supported motion for summary judgment; rather, ...