Manatt Success for Client Eagle Eyes Featured in Taiwanese Press
December 9, 2012—In October 2012, a Manatt litigation team, led by partners Kenneth Julian and Yi-Chin Ho, obtained a significantly reduced fine on behalf of its client Eagle Eyes Industrial Traffic Co., Ltd., bringing to an end the United States Department of Justice's investigation into allegations that the company engaged in unlawful price-fixing. This success has recently been featured in Taiwanese publications, including the Taiwan Economic Daily.
The investigation, which began in February 2009, led to criminal charges being filed in November 2011 against Eagle Eyes, its United States-based distributor and two of its executives. The indictment alleged a conspiracy to fix prices for aftermarket auto lights, which are designed either to replace original lights damaged in collisions or to serve as auto accessories and upgrades.
Eagle Eyes retained Manatt in July 2010 with the expectation that it would fight these charges through to trial. To this end, the Manatt team developed a comprehensive defense in anticipation of trial, which was scheduled to begin in late October 2012.
Significantly, on the eve of trial, the Manatt team obtained an extremely favorable tentative evidentiary ruling that would have excluded the government's best evidence from being introduced at trial. In the wake of this ruling, the attorneys successfully negotiated a settlement, limiting Eagle Eyes' fine to $5 million, paid over five years without interest. Manatt also convinced the court that probation was not warranted in these circumstances.
In comparison to recent fines imposed against other Taiwanese manufacturers facing charges of price-fixing in the United States, most notably AU Optronics' recent sentencing to a fine of $500 million, this outcome is extremely favorable for Eagle Eyes. By obtaining this disposition, Manatt has enabled Eagle Eyes to return its focus to manufacturing and selling high-quality aftermarket auto lights at competitive prices.