HP Can't Use COVID-19 To Delay Disk Drive Row, 5th Circ. Told

Law360 (March 24, 2020, 10:19 PM EDT) -- Hewlett-Packard shouldn't get an extra month to work on arguments to uphold its $438.7 million win in a price-fixing case because it’s still trying to enforce the award in district court while the verdict is being appealed in the Fifth Circuit, the losing side told the appellate court.

Quanta Storage told the court Monday that it would like to cut HP the one month break it was asking for because of disruptions caused by the coronavirus pandemic, but wouldn’t be able to because of HP’s push to enforce a verdict that would “cripple” the optical disk drive maker.

“Given the circumstances presented by the COVID-19 virus, Quanta would like to be able to agree to HP’s request for an extension of time,” the company said in its Monday filing. “However, due to HP’s effort to enforce the district court’s judgment pending Quanta’s appeal, Quanta must continue to oppose HP’s desire for an extension of time to file its brief.”

Both HP’s request and Quanta’s opposition were put before the Fifth Circuit on Monday, barely a week before the electronics giant was set to file its opening brief in defense of the $438.7 million judgment it won after a jury found that HP overpaid for CD and DVD drives because of a price-fixing scheme.

The same day, the number of confirmed cases of COVID-19, the disease caused by the novel coronavirus, ticked past 50,000.

Quanta’s argument is that HP has known for most of the month that the optical disk drive producer would oppose any deadline extensions because “because HP’s efforts, during appeal, to execute on the judgment will cripple Quanta’s business before Quanta has an opportunity to complete this appeal.”

HP Inc. secured nearly triple the damages that a Texas federal jury awarded it in October after U.S. District Judge David Hittner agreed to treble damages for the antitrust injury. In doing so, the judge rejected Quanta’s argument that bumping up the award would violate its due process rights.

The jury’s verdict was the culmination of more than six years of litigation that began in 2013 when HP hit a slew of companies, including Toshiba Corp. and Samsung Electronics Ltd., with antitrust claims accusing them of running a price-fixing scheme to keep the cost of optical disk drives high.

Most of the companies originally named in the suit settled by 2017, leaving Taiwan-based Quanta as the last defendant standing when the trial rolled around at the close of 2019.

Representatives for the parties did not immediately respond to a request for comment Tuesday.

HP is represented by Alistair B. Dawson, Alex B. Roberts and Garrett S. Brawley of Beck Redden LLP.

Quanta is represented by Harry M. Reasoner, Marie R. Yeates, Michael A. Heidler and Bryan Gividen of Vinson & Elkins LLP.

The case is Hewlett-Packard Co. v. Quanta Storage Inc. et al., case number 19-20799, in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit.

--Additional reporting by Katie Pohlman and Matthew Perlman. Editing by Jill Coffey.

For a reprint of this article, please contact reprints@law360.com.

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Case Information

Case Title

Hewlett-Packard Company v. Toshiba Corporation


Case Number

19-20799

Court

Appellate - 5th Circuit

Nature of Suit

3410 Antitrust

Date Filed

November 21, 2019

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