Motorola, Inc. v. AU Optronics Corporation et al

Filing 214


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1 2 3 4 5 IN THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT 6 FOR THE NORTHERN DISTRICT OF CALIFORNIA 7 8 IN RE: TFT-LCD (FLAT PANEL) ANTITRUST LITIGATION / No. M 07-1827 SI MDL No. 1827 10 This Order Relates To: No. C 09-5840 SI 11 MOTOROLA MOBILITY, INC., ORDER DENYING SANYO CONSUMER ELECTRONICS CO., LTD.’S MOTION TO DISMISS MOTOROLA MOBILITY, INC.’S THIRD AMENDED COMPLAINT United States District Court For the Northern District of California 9 12 13 Plaintiff, v. 14 AU OPTRONICS CORPORATION, et al., 15 Defendants. / 16 17 Now before the Court is Sanyo Consumer Electronics Co., Ltd.’s (“Sanyo”) motion to dismiss 18 Motorola Mobility, Inc.’s Third Amended Complaint (“TAC”). Pursuant to Civil Local Rule 7-1(b), 19 the Court finds this matter suitable for disposition without oral argument and therefore VACATES the 20 hearing currently scheduled for November 18, 2011. Having considered the parties’ papers, and for 21 good cause appearing, the Court hereby DENIES Sanyo’s motion. 22 Sanyo raises three grounds on which it seeks to dismiss Motorola’s complaint. First, Sanyo 23 asserts that Motorola’s TAC fails to adequately describe Sanyo’s role in the conspiracy. Sanyo claims 24 that the TAC “defines ‘Sanyo’ . . . as SANYO Consumer Electronics Co., Ltd., and its affiliates, parents, 25 subsidiaries, agents and representatives ‘collectively.’” Motion at 4. It argues that this vague definition 26 does not satisfy basic pleading standards. 27 The Court has addressed similar arguments a number of times in this MDL. As with its prior 28 rulings, the Court finds Sanyo’s argument unconvincing. The TAC alleges that Sanyo joined the 1 conspiracy by holding illegal price discussions with Samsung, Chunghwa, and Toshiba. See TAC at 2 ¶¶90, 101-02, 108-09. It includes details on those discussions, such as the dates they occurred, the 3 identities of those involved, and the subject matters discussed. Although the allegations against Sanyo 4 are not extensive, taken in the light most favorable to Motorola they adequately allege that Sanyo joined 5 the price-fixing conspiracy. To the extent Sanyo seeks more detail on Motorola’s allegations, such 6 matters are best addressed through discovery. Next, Sanyo seeks to dismiss Motorola’s fifteenth cause of action, a breach of contract claim. 8 Motorola’s TAC alleges that “Motorola and Sanyo entered into multiple contracts for the sale of LCD 9 Panels and/or LCD Products.” TAC at ¶310. It claims that Sanyo breached these contracts by failing 10 United States District Court For the Northern District of California 7 to comply with the requirement that it act “in compliance with all applicable laws, rules, regulations, 11 and standards.” TAC at ¶311. 12 Sanyo first argues that Motorola’s TAC does not adequately allege which Sanyo entity is a party 13 to the contracts. As this Court has already held in connection with Motorola’s other breach of contract 14 claims, however, “[a]mbiguities of this type are properly explored in discovery.” See Order Denying 15 Defendants’ Joint Motion to Dismiss the Second Amended Motorola Complaint, Master Docket 16 No. 2602, at 14 (March 28, 2011). Sanyo also argues that Motorola’s breach of contract claims are 17 untimely. This Court, however, has already found similar claims against Samsung SDI timely. See 18 Order Denying Samsung SDI’s Motion to Dismiss Motorola’s Seventeenth Claim for Relief, Master 19 Docket No. 4143 (November 14, 2011). As discussed in the Samsung SDI order, Motorola’s reliance 20 on fraudulent concealment is sufficient at the pleading stage. In particular, the Court rejects Sanyo’s 21 argument that Motorola must plead a fiduciary relationship to invoke fraudulent concealment. The cases 22 Sanyo relies on involved causes of action for fraudulent concealment, and did not address the tolling 23 doctrine. Cf. Chicago Park Dist. v. Kenroy, Inc., 402 N.E.2d 181, 184 (Ill. 1980) (“As a general rule, 24 the concealment of a cause of action sufficient to toll the statute of limitations requires affirmative acts 25 or representations designed to prevent discovery of the cause of action.”). 26 Finally, Sanyo argues that Motorola’s unjust enrichment cause of action must be dismissed. The 27 Court has already allowed Motorola to plead unjust enrichment in the alternative against the other 28 defendants. See Order Denying Defendants’ Joint Motion to Dismiss the Second Amended Motorola 2 1 Complaint, Master Docket No. 2602, at 14 (March 28, 2011). It finds no reason to depart from that 2 holding with respect to Motorola’s claim against Sanyo. The Court also rejects Sanyo’s argument that 3 Illinois law requires the defendant to have received “a direct benefit” from the plaintiff. The case 4 Sanyo relies upon dealt with a specific law applicable to contractors. See Springfield Heating and Air 5 Conditioning, Inc. v. 3947-55 King Drive at Oakwood, LLC, 901 N.E.2d 978, (Ill. App. 2009) 6 (dismissing unjust enrichment claim in part because “the rights afforded by the [Mechanics Lien] Act 7 are purely statutory in nature and are not governed by the rules of equitable jurisprudence”). The Court 8 adheres to its prior decision that, as a general matter, unjust enrichment claims do not require the 9 conferral of a direct benefit. See Order Granting in Part Defendants’ Joint Motion for Partial Summary United States District Court For the Northern District of California 10 11 12 Judgment on Various Issues of State Law, Master Docket No. 3733, at 10-11 (Sept. 28, 2011). Accordingly, the Court hereby DENIES Sanyo’s motion to dismiss Motorola’s seventeenth cause of action. Docket Nos. 178, 187 in 09-5840; Nos. 3539, 3607 in 07-1827. 13 14 IT IS SO ORDERED. 15 16 Dated: November 15, 2011 SUSAN ILLSTON United States District Judge 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 3

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