In re Capacitors Antitrust Litigation

Updated: October 31, 2017
Status: Ongoing Case

On October 22, 2014, Labaton Sucharow filed a class action lawsuit on behalf of direct purchasers of capacitors against several major capacitor manufacturers for allegedly engaging in a multi-year conspiracy to fix, raise, maintain, and/or stabilize the prices of capacitors sold in the United States.

On May 26, 2015, the court denied the defendants’ motions to dismiss. In June 2017, the court granted final approval of the direct purchaser plaintiff settlements, a total of $32.5 million, with the defendants NEC-Tokin, Fujistu, Nitsuko, Okaya, and ROHM. Additionally, the direct purchaser plaintiffs filed their motion for class certification. In July 2017, the defendants filed their opposition to plaintiffs’ motion.

The case is In re Capacitors Antitrust Litigation, No. 14-cv-03264 (N.D. Cal.). The plaintiff is Quathimatine Holdings, Inc. d/b/a Divicom, USA. The defendants are major capacitor manufacturers.

Capacitors are passive components that store electrical charge and stabilize the flow of current through a circuit. They are found in nearly every electrical product. Several major Japanese capacitor manufacturers have been subject to dawn raids and inspections by officials in China, South Korea, and Japan. The United States has reportedly commenced a grand jury proceeding in connection with its own investigation into alleged cartel activity in the capacitors market. These investigations were all started after a capacitor manufacturer approached officials in China and the United States and sought leniency under both countries' respective amnesty programs. Similar applications were reportedly made to Korean and Singaporean officials.

In the United States., the Department of Justice's Corporate Leniency Policy permits provides an amnesty applicant with immunity from criminal prosecution exchange for disclosing the existence of a cartel and assisting the DOJ in the prosecution of its fellow cartel members under the Sherman Act.