Following a 4-week trial at the end of last year, the High Court has handed down judgment in a cartel follow-on claim in relation to the LCD cartel. The claim was brought by Granville and OT Computers (now insolvent former UK computer manufacturers ‘Time’ and ‘Tiny’), based on a 2010 European Commission decision. The case is only the third cartel damages claim to reach final judgment in the UK (after Britned and the Royal Mail Trucks claim).
The Court, HHJ Pelling sitting as a High Court judge in the Commercial Court, found that the cartel, which had operated from 2001 to 2006, had resulted in an overcharge of between 4% and 8% for the main product categories (with a 14% overcharge found in relation to a very small third category). The Court further held that the Claimants were likely to have passed on 65% of that overcharge to their downstream customers in the form of higher prices. The Court accepted, however, that this gave rise to a substantial secondary claim for lost profits from lost sales due to higher retail prices.
The Court rejected arguments that the claim was time barred, following the Court of Appeal’s reasoning in a separate claim brought by the same claimants (OT Computers v Infineon  Q.B. 1183) as to the knowledge an insolvent claimant could with reasonable diligence be expected to have discovered. The Court also rejected arguments that substantial parts of the claim (where products had first been put onto the market outside the EEA) were either governed by foreign laws, and should therefore fail, or otherwise fell outside the territorial scope of EU law. The Court of Appeal had ruled earlier that the Claimants were not entitled to claim compound interest for the period of their insolvencies, as the requirements for awarding compound interest on an equitable basis (as opposed to as damages in a Sempra Metals sense) were not met (Granville v LG  2 W.L.R. 372).
Stefan Kuppen acted for the claimants.