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In re Cathode Ray Tube Crt Antitrust Litigation

United States District Court, N.D. California

March 9, 2017

IN RE CATHODE RAY TUBE CRT ANTITRUST LITIGATION
v.
Technicolor SA, et al., No. 13-cv-05264 This Relates To Best Buy Co., Inc., et al. Electrograph Systems, Inc., et al.
v.
Technicolor SA, et al., No. 13-cv-06325; Interbond Corporation of America
v.
Mitsubishi Electric & Electronics USA, Inc., et al., No. 13-cv-05727; Office Depot, Inc.
v.
Technicolor SA, et al., No. 13-cv-81174; P.C. Richard & Son Long Island Corporation, et al.
v.
Technicolor SA, et al., No. 13-cv-06327; Target Corp.
v.
Technicolor SA, et al., No. 13-cv-05686; Costco Wholesale Corporation
v.
Technicolor SA, et al., No. 13-cv-02037; Schultze Agency Services, LLC
v.
Technicolor SA, Ltd., et al., No. 13-cv-05668; Sears, Roebuck and Co., et al.
v.
Technicolor SA, No. 13-cv-05262; Dell Inc., et al.
v.
Phillips Electronics North America Corporation, et al., No. 13-cv-2171; Tech Data Corp., et al.
v.
Hitachi, Ltd., et al., No.13-cv-00157; Siegel
v.
Technicolor SA, et al., No.13-cv-05261; Viewsonic Corporation
v.
Chunghwa Picture Tubes Ltd., et al., No.13-cv-02510. MDL No. 1917

          ORDER DENYING MITSUBISHI ELECTRIC CORPORATION'S MOTION FOR SUMMARY JUDGMENT

          JON S. TIGAR, United States District Judge

         Before the Court is Defendant Mitsubishi Electric Corporation's (“Mitsubishi”) Motion for Summary Judgment. ECF No. 3033-4. For the reasons below, the Court will deny the motion.

         I. BACKGROUND

         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. In addition to two class actions, this MDL involves various direct actions from individual plaintiffs who opted out of the class actions, including the DAPs that oppose the present motions. Each DAP alleges that it bought at least one CRT Finished Product from a Defendant or an entity owned or controlled by a Defendant.

         Mitsubishi was a buyer and seller of CRTs during the Conspiracy Period. ECF No. 3033-4 at 17. On November 7, 2014, Mitsubishi moved for summary judgment based on an absence of evidence of liability. Id.

         II. LEGAL STANDARD

Anderson v. Liberty Lobby, Inc. 477 U.S. 242
Id Freeman v. Arpaio 125 F.3d 732

         Where the party moving for summary judgment would bear the burden of proof at trial, that party bears the initial burden of producing evidence that would entitle it to a directed verdict if uncontroverted at trial. See C.A.R. Transp. Brokerage Co. v. Darden Rests, Inc., 213 F.3d 474, 480 (9th Cir. 2000). Where the party moving for summary judgment would not bear the burden of proof at trial, that party bears the initial burden of either producing evidence that negates an essential element of the non-moving party's claim, or showing that the non-moving party does not have enough evidence of an essential element to carry its ultimate burden of persuasion at trial. If the moving party satisfies its initial burden of production, then the non-moving party must produce admissible evidence to show that a genuine issue of material fact exists. See Nissan Fire & Marine Ins. Co. v. Fritz Cos., 210 F.3d 1099, 1102-03 (9th Cir. 2000). 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). Indeed, it is not the duty of the district court “to scour the record in search of a genuine issue of triable fact.” Id. “A mere scintilla of evidence will not be sufficient to defeat a properly supported motion for summary judgment; rather, the non-moving party must introduce some significant probative evidence tending to support the complaint.” Summers v. Teichert & Son, Inc., 127 F.3d 1150, 1152 (9th Cir. 1997) (citation and internal quotations omitted). If the non-moving party fails to make this showing, the moving party is entitled to summary judgment. Celotex Corp. v. Catrett, 477 U.S. 317, 323 (1986).

         “In antitrust cases, these general standards are applied even more stringently and summary judgments granted more sparingly.” Beltz Travel Serv., Inc. v. Int'l Air Transp. Ass'n, 620 F.2d 1360, 1364 (9th Cir. 1980). As a general matter, “plaintiffs should be given the full benefit of their proof without tightly compartmentalizing the various factual components and wiping the slate clean after scrutiny of each. . . . The character and effect of a conspiracy are not to be judged by dismembering it and viewing its separate parts, but only by looking at it as a whole.” Cont'l Ore Co. v. Union Carbide & Carbon Corp., 370 U.S. 690, 698-99 (1962) (alterations omitted). Nonetheless, “conduct as consistent with permissible competition as with illegal conspiracy does not, standing alone, support an inference of antitrust conspiracy.” Matsushita Elec. Indus. Co. v. Zenith Radio Corp., 475 U.S. 574, 588 (1986). Rather, to defeat a motion for summary judgment, “a plaintiff seeking damages for a violation of § 1 must present evidence 'that tends to exclude the possibility” that the alleged conspirators acted independently.'” Id. (quoting Monsanto Co. v. Spray-Rite Service Corp., 465 U.S. 752, 764 (1984)).

         III. ANALYSIS

A. SDI's Interrogatory Responses
During the relevant period, the defendant, through its officers and employees, including high-level personnel of the defendant, participated in a conspiracy among major CDT producers, the primary purpose of which was to fix prices, reduce output, and allocate market shares of CDTs sold in the United States and elsewhere. In furtherance of the conspiracy, the defendant, through its officers and employees, engaged in discussions and attended meetings with representatives of other major CDT producers. During these discussions and meetings, agreements were reached to fix prices, reduce output, and allocate market shares of CDTs to be sold in the United States and elsewhere.

ECF No. 3269-6 at 4. The ambiguity in the plea's language prompted Plaintiffs to serve supplemental interrogatories on SDI. SDI's responses implicated Mitsubishi. First, when asked which entities SDI meant in its plea with the phrase “major CDT producers, ” SDI stated that “[a]t least one Mitsubishi entity and at least one Chunghwa entity participated in the CDT conspiracy described in SDI's Plea Agreement.” ECF No. 3269-8 at 16. Second, when asked which representatives of those other CDT producers participated in meetings with SDI, SDI named “Katou Nakashima, who SDI understood to be a representative of at least one Mitsubishi entity, and Chang Yuan Lin and ...


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