Frequently Asked Questions
Please Note: Make sure to check back regularly on this site as we will post updated information regarding this litigation as it becomes available.
What are these lawsuits about?
This antitrust class action lawsuit was filed by plaintiffs alleging a conspiracy involving ODD suppliers to fix, maintain, or stabilize the prices of ODDs at artificially high levels in violation of federal and state antitrust laws. ODD refers to a DVD-RW, DVD-ROM, or COMBO drive manufactured by one or more Defendants or their asserted conspirators. The cases are known as In re Optical Disk Drive Products Antitrust Litigation, No. 3:10-MD-2143-RS (MDL 2143). This lawsuit is brought on behalf of individuals and businesses who purchased a new computer with an internal ODD, a stand-alone ODD designed for internal use in a computer, or an ODD designed to be attached externally to a computer as residents of Arizona, California, District of Columbia, Florida, Hawaii, Kansas, Maine, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, Oregon, Tennessee, Utah, Vermont, West Virginia, or Wisconsin between April 1, 2003 and December 31, 2008 for their own use and not for resale. Because the class here is end-users who did not resell their products, they are known as “indirect purchasers.” The defendants deny they did anything wrong.
Who brought these lawsuits?
A group of twenty-three class representatives sued on behalf of people who have similar claims. The class representatives are: Mike Bishop, Cindy Booze, Wanda Duryea, Matthew Ence, Benjamin Faber, Barney Gooman, Jr., Matthew Hosking, James Ito-Adler, Chris Johnson, Susie Lim, John McKee, Gail Murphy, Benjamin Murray, Angela Pritchard, Ben Porter, Mike Reilly, Sandra Steffen, Thomas Stenger, Kristina Tecce, Brian Tindall, Anbessa Tufa, and Kimberly Wood. In its order certifying the class, the District Court found that each of these representatives adequately represent the interests of class members. These class representatives have individually devoted significant amounts of time to this litigation, including reviewing pleadings and legal briefs filed in the action, responding to discovery requests from the defendants and being deposed by the defendants. Each of the class representatives supports the proposed settlements.
Who are the settling defendants?
- Plaintiffs have settled with three separate groups of defendants, which include the following companies: Koninklijke Philips N.V., Lite-On IT Corporation, Philips & Lite-On Digital Solutions Corporation, Philips & Lite-On Digital Solutions U.S.A., Inc. (collectively “PLDS”);
- Pioneer Corporation, Pioneer North America, Inc., Pioneer Electronics (USA) Inc., and Pioneer High Fidelity Taiwan Co., Ltd. (collectively “Pioneer”);
- TEAC America, Inc.; TEAC Corporation (collectively “TEAC”).
Who are the remaining defendants?
A number of the defendants remain in this case, and the class has been certified to proceed against the remaining defendants. The remaining defendants include: BenQ Corporation, BenQ America Corp., Samsung Electronics Co., Ltd., Toshiba Corp., Toshiba Samsung Storage Technology Corp., Toshiba Samsung Storage Technology Corp. Korea, and Quanta Storage Inc. The settlements with the PLDS, Pioneer and TEAC defendants do not release claims against these remaining defendants. The District Court has set a trial date of February 12, 2018, for the trial of the indirect purchaser plaintiffs against these remaining defendants.
How do I know if I am part of the settlements and certified class?
You are included in the settlements and certified class if:
- You purchased a new computer with an internal ODD, a stand-alone ODD designed for internal use in a computer, or an ODD designed to be attached externally to a computer for your own use and not for resale; ODD (optical disk drive) refers to a DVD-RW, DVD-ROM, or COMBO drive. All DVD drives are eligible. Solo CD drives are not eligible.
- You made this purchase while a resident of Arizona, California, District of Columbia, Florida, Hawaii, Kansas, Maine, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, Oregon, Tennessee, Utah, Vermont, West Virginia, or Wisconsin; and
- You made this purchase between April 1, 2003 and December 31, 2008.
Panasonic-branded computers are excluded from the class. ODDs purchased directly from a defendant are also excluded from the class. You do not need to have a proof-of-purchase or retain the item to participate in the settlements.
What is an optical disk drive?
An optical disk drive (ODD) uses a laser light to read and write data. These drives were popular in the 1990s and 2000s for storing data, music, and other multimedia files. They were sold both inside computers and also as standalone devices. Please note that in this particular settlement, the drives that are eligible are DVD-RW, DVD-ROM, and COMBO drives. In other words, all DVD drives are included, but solo CD drives are not eligible.
How do I count the number of computers and ODD drives?
ODD drives in this case can be both internal (inside a computer) or external (as a standalone device that plugs into the computer or other device). If you bought a computer with two internal drives, it’s suggested that you report it as such: two “Computer/Internal” optical disk drives. Remember that the date of purchase for these devices/drives is from 2003 to 2008. Be as accurate as you can and make sure the number reflects what you would be willing to testify to in court, under oath, if required.
Is there a limit to the number of drives I can claim?
No, there is not a set limit to the number of disk drives that can be claimed. However, you should only report the total number of devices/drives that you would testify to at trial under oath if required, under penalty of perjury. We reserve the right to audit any large volume claim.
Do I need proof of purchase for each optical disk drive claim?
No, proof of purchase is not required given the timeline of 2003-2008. However, you should make certain to report the total number of devices/drives that you would testify to at trial under oath if required. We reserve the right to audit any large volume claim.
I am a 3rd party claims firm, how do I make claims on behalf of my clients?
To ensure fairness and consistency in our claim process, the online claim form limits submissions to a single active claim per email address. However, we understand that 3rd party claims firms who make claims on behalf individuals and companies frequently wish to do so using a single email address. In order to manage such requests, we ask that 3rd party claims firms make a support request (choose “Register a 3rd party claims firm” option) to register themselves prior to making any claims. Once this request is received, our team will respond with instructions on how to execute claims on behalf of other parties on the same email address.
What do the settlements provide?
The settlements provide for $55.5 million in recovery for class members. Specifically:
- The PLDS settlement provides for a $40 million settlement fund.
- The Pioneer settlement provides for a $10.5 million settlement fund.
- The TEAC settlement provides for a $5 million settlement fund.
These settlements are in addition to $124.5 million already reached with four defendant families (Panasonic, NEC, Sony and HLDS) which have received final approval by the court. Class members are still able to make claims on the original $124.5 million in settlements. If final approval is granted to one, some or all of the settlements, class members who have filed valid and timely claims will receive an electronic payment.
How much will my payment be?
Actual payment amounts to individuals and business entities are not yet known. There are a number of factors in the final calculation: (1) the number of ODDs purchased by the class member; and (2) the number of valid claims filed. The current estimated settlement amount is approximately $10/drive, which could increase or decrease depending on the factors above. The total settlement amount is fixed at $180M.
What do I have to do to get my payment?
File a claim online or by mail by October 30, 2017. After this date, we will continue to receive (late) online claims; however, there is no guarantee that late claims will be accepted for settlement payout. No proof of purchase necessary.
The simple online claim form only takes 3-5 minutes for most individuals. Claims may be submitted by mail to In re ODD Products Indirect Purchaser Litigation, P.O. Box 43424, Providence, RI 02940-3424. We highly recommend that you submit the claim online to receive expedited service for payments. After the claims period is closed and the court approves the settlement (which may take several months, pending appeals and court availability), an email will be sent to your account on file with instructions on how to electronically receive your payment via PayPal, Google Wallet, Amazon Balance, and other popular methods.
If you previously filed a claim on the initial settlements with Panasonic, NEC, Sony and HLDS, you do not need to file a new claim. Your previous claim will automatically be counted toward the new settlements with PLDS, Pioneer and TEAC, as well as any future settlements that may be reached with any of the remaining defendants in the case, unless you specifically excluded yourself from one or more of those new settlements.
If you filed a claim before October 30, 2017, that claim will also be counted toward all of the settlements reached to date, as well as any future settlements that may be reached with the remaining defendants in the case, unless you specifically excluded yourself from any of those settlements. Plaintiffs have also collected direct contact information for class members and are making reasonable attempts to distribute funds to class members where an address is available. This method is not guaranteed, however, and to ensure payment class members should submit a claims form.
How do I object or exclude myself from the settlements?
Individuals may object to, or exclude yourself from, these settlements. However, the time period for both of those actions closed on July 14, 2017.
If I exclude myself, can I still get benefits from the settlements and the litigation?
No. If you exclude yourself from the settlements and the litigation, you will not receive any benefits.
If I exclude myself, can I sue the defendants separately?
If you exclude yourself from the settlements and/or the litigation, you may be able to sue the defendants about the issues related to this case. If you do not exclude yourself, you give up your right to sue the defendants about the issues related to this case.
What is the difference between objecting and excluding myself?
Objecting is simply telling the Court that you do not like something about the settlements. You can object to the settlements only if you do not exclude yourself. Excluding yourself from the settlements is telling the Court that you do not want to be part of the settlements. If you exclude yourself from the settlements, you have no basis to object to the settlements because they no longer affect you.
When and where will the Court decide whether to approve the settlements?
The Court held a Final Approval Hearing on September 14, 2017, at 1:30 p.m. at the United States District Court, 450 Golden Gate Ave, San Francisco, CA, Courtroom 3 – 17th Floor, to consider whether to approve or deny the PLDS, Pioneer, and TEAC Settlements and a request for attorneys’ fees up to 25 percent of the Settlement Funds.
Do I have to come to the hearing?
No. The Court appointed Hagens Berman Sobol Shapiro LLP to represent the Settlement Class.
May I speak at the hearing?
Yes. You could have appeared at the hearing, or you could have hired your own attorney, if you wished, at your own expense. However, the Final Approval Hearing date on September 14, 2017 has now passed.
What happens if I do nothing at all?
If the Court gives final approval to the settlements, you might not receive your payment automatically. Valid claims submitted either by mail or online by October 30, 2017 are ensured payment from these settlements. We will continue to receive online claims after October 30, 2017; however, there is no guarantee that late claims will be accepted for settlement payout.
How do I get more information?
This website summarizes the proposed settlements. More details are in the settlement agreements, available here. Many of the important documents in the case are also available here, including the operative complaint, the District Court’s order certifying the class. Plaintiffs will add additional case documents to this website as the litigation proceeds. You may also contact class counsel at Hagens Berman Sobol Shapiro (firstname.lastname@example.org), or access the Court’s docket in this case through the Court’s Public Access to Court Electronic Records (PACER) system at https://ecf.cand.uscourts.gov, or by visiting the office of the Clerk of the Court for the United States District Court for the Northern District of California, 450 Golden Gate Ave., San Francisco, CA 94102, between 9:00 a.m. and 4:00 p.m., Monday through Friday, excluding Court holidays. For questions about the settlement or the claims process, you may contact the Settlement Administrator at 877-368-9020. PLEASE DO NOT TELEPHONE THE COURT OR THE COURT CLERK’S OFFICE TO INQUIRE ABOUT THIS SETTLEMENT OR THE CLAIM PROCESS.
What happens to any funds remaining after distribution to the class?
Plaintiffs will make their best efforts to distribute funds received through the settlements to the class. Any remaining funds may be distributed in a second round to class members, or, depending on the funds remaining, be distributed to the California Attorney General for use in prosecuting consumer and antitrust claims. Under no circumstances will the money go back to the defendants.
Why is my state not included?
If your state is not listed, it may be because it does not provide standing for indirect purchasers of price-fixed goods, or has a state law that differs materially from the federal antitrust laws, whereby the Court declined to include residents of that state in the class.
How do I update my submission (email, name, or ODD quantity)?
Now that the claims period has closed, existing timely claims cannot be altered except in cases of name or email changes. Please file a support request and provide your new name and/or email information in the text box.
There is an issue with the claim form, how do I fix it?
Some Operating System (OS)/Browser combinations may not be supported. Please try to submit a claim on a different OS/Browser combination. If that does not work, please describe the issue via our support page and we will address this matter promptly.