Case study

$438M Judgment In Price-Fixing Case

January 7, 2020 Case Study

Hewlett-Packard Co. v. Quanta Storage Inc. et al.

On January 3, 2020, Beck Redden LLP won a $438 million judgment in Texas federal court on behalf of its client, HP Inc., securing nearly tripled damages after a jury found that Quanta Storage Inc. intentionally participated in a massive scheme to fix the price of optical disk drives and awarded $176 million to HP.

U.S. District Judge David Hittner granted HP’s request for triple damages against the Taiwan-based Quanta and Quanta Storage America Inc. after HP argued the three-fold damages are mandatory under the Clayton Antitrust Act. The judgment reflects an offset based on settlements HP secured from Quanta’s co-conspirators, and is exactly what HP requested.

A jury found Quanta owed HP $176 million in October (see case study here). In post-trial briefing, Quanta argued tripling the damages would violate its due process by imposing “grossly excessive and arbitrary” punitive damages. Judge Hittner rejected this argument, saying trebled antitrust damages compensate the aggrieved party rather than serving as a punishment.

“Because treble damages are distinct from punitive damages and serve to compensate HP, a party the jury found was injured, the court finds the award as trebled does not violate due process,” Judge Hittner wrote.

Alex Roberts of Beck Redden LLP, representing HP, said the company is happy with the amended judgment and that Judge Hittner denied Quanta’s post-trial motions, including one for a new trial.

“HP hopes this judgment sends a powerful message to suppliers all over the world that there are significant consequences when you violate U.S. antitrust laws,” Roberts said.

HP is represented by Alistair B. Dawson, Alex B. Roberts, and Garrett S. Brawley of Beck Redden LLP. The case is Hewlett-Packard Co. v. Quanta Storage Inc. et al., case number 4:18-cv-00762, in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Texas, Houston Division.

Excerpted from Law360.

Alistair B. Dawson 713.951.6225
Russell S. Post 713.951.6292
Alex B. Roberts 713.951.6261
Garrett S. Brawley 713.951.6240
Parth S. Gejji 713.951.6288
Appellate Commercial Litigation