The Obama Trials

United States v AU Optronics et al

09 November 2017

The US tests its cartel powers in court Most trial lawyers would probably agree: a unique mental, emotional and even physical state sets in as you watch the jury solemnly file back into the courtroom to deliver its verdict after a lengthy, hard-fought trial. A combination of apprehension, anticipation, anxiety and lingering exhaustion stirs butterflies in the stomach. In US v AU Optronics (AUO) et al, that feeling came at eleven o’clock in the morning on 13 March 2012 in a San Francisco federal courtroom. About a half an hour earlier, the jury had sent a note to Judge Susan Illston: “We have reached a unanimous decision on seven of eight counts. We are deadlocked on one count and have been deliberating on it for three days.” Technically, they were only considering one count – price fixing in violation of the Sherman Act – but there were eight questions on the special verdict form, one for each of the seven defendants (two corporations and five individuals), and a two-part question concerning the illegal windfall profits the companies earned due to the conspiracy.