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Friday, March 01, 2013

Alumni Attorneys Honored for Epic LCD Antitrust Case

Bruce L. Simon ’80, a member of the UC Hastings Board of Directors, and Francis S. Scarpulla ’67 have been named California Lawyer Attorneys of the Year for their work in a $1 billion price-fixing case involving LCDs, or liquid crystal displays.

Scarpulla and Simon represented groups of plaintiffs that have recovered more than $1 billion from the illegal price-fixing of LCDs used in televisions, computers, and smartphones from 1999 to 2006.

The magazine noted, “civil litigators broke new ground in resolving the price-fixing conspiracy among the world’s largest makers of liquid-crystal displays (LCDs) for indirect and direct purchasers, as well as in the sheer size of the monetary outcome. Federal prosecutors won price-fixing convictions in the first criminal trial of a publicly traded company in a decade, including a $500 million fine against LCD maker AU Optronics.”

In private civil actions, Simon and co-counsel won a jury verdict against Toshiba. Though the verdict was vacated when Toshiba agreed to settle for $30 million, it paved the way for separate deals with other defendants, producing another $443 million in settlements.

Scarpulla and co-counsel “scored a staggering $1.1 billion in settlements in 10 separate all-cash deals, through an 11-month marathon of meetings,” the magazine noted. Scarpulla represented the class of consumers, or indirect purchasers. “The accomplishment is all the more significant because it is notoriously difficult to prove damages and causation in indirect purchaser cases,” the magazine said in making the award.

“In a case of this magnitude, victories come through hard work, dedication and a combination of legal knowledge and practical skill,” said Simon. “I learned all those traits at Hastings, which is famous for preparing trial lawyers to confront the real world.”

Scarpulla, of Zelle Hofman Voelbel & Mason in San Francisco, represented the indirect purchasers with Joseph M. Alioto Sr. of the Alioto Law Firm. Simon, of Pearson, Simon, Warshaw & Penny in San Francisco, represented the direct purchasers, along with Richard Heimann of Lieff Cabraser Heimann & Bernstein.

The 2013 CLAY Awards recognize 60 attorneys who had a significant impact in 2012, including prosecutors, public-interest lawyers, and attorneys from international law firms. The 17th annual CLAY Awards will be presented on March 12, 2013 in San Francisco and honorees are featured in the March 2013 issue of California Lawyer.

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