State AGs Win Right to Sue Corporations in State Court

, The Litigation Daily

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U.S. Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor
U.S. Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor

Sotomayor said the statute refers to "100 or more persons," not "100 or more named or unnamed real parties in interest." If Congress had intended the latter, she wrote, "it easily could have drafted language to that effect."

The case stemmed from a price-fixing suit by Hood against AU Optronics Corp., a manufacturer of LCD panels, which are components of computers, televisions, mobile phones and a wide variety of commonly used electronic devices. The state alleged that the company had conspired between 1996 and 2006 artificially to limit the supply and increase the price of LCD panels, which subsequently increased the price of every product using the panel during that period.

Mississippi's lawsuit is one of 13 parens patriae suits against most of the same defendants brought by the attorneys general of Arkansas, California, Florida, Illinois, Michigan, Missouri, New York, Oregon, South Carolina, Washington, West Virginia and Wisconsin. There also is pending multidistrict litigation in the Northern District of California that includes attorney general actions filed in federal court, as well as various private indirect-purchaser class actions.

Jonathan Massey of Washington's Massey & Gail, made the winning argument on behalf of Hood. AU Optronics was represented by Christopher Curran of the D.C. office of White & Case.

Contact Marcia Coyle at mcoyle@alm.com.

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