On Monday, October 30, the US Supreme Court declined to hear an appeal from display panel manufacturer HannStar in a case brought by Sony seeking to enforce a US$4.1 million settlement over an alleged scheme to fix the prices for liquid crystal displays.
The high court denied HannStar Display’s petition for certiorari in an order list on Monday, rejecting the company’s bid to overturn a Ninth Circuit panel decision from September 2016.
After Sony and HannStar engaged a mediator to resolve a price-fixing dispute, the mediator proposed settlement in an email exchange. Both parties accepted by email, but when HannStar refused to comply, Sony filed suit to enforce the agreement.
The district court denied Sony’s motion for summary judgment, holding that the California Evidence Code’s mediation privilege bars introduction of the settlement emails. The parties stipulated to a final judgment. The court held that, because at the time the parties engaged in mediation, their negotiations concerned (and the mediated settlement settled) both federal and state law claims, the federal law of privilege applies. Accordingly, the court concluded that the district court erred in applying California privilege law to resolve this dispute.
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