The opinion of the court was delivered by: Sweet, District Judge.
The plaintiffs, the Attorney Generals of the fifty States and
the Corporation Counsel of the District of Columbia ("Attorney
Generals"), and the defendant, Nintendo of America, Inc.
("Nintendo"), have moved for an Order granting final approval
of the settlement agreements between the parties filed with
this Court on or before June 20, 1991 ("Settlement
Agreements"). A number of objections to the settlement and
requests for additional notice have been received.
The requests for additional notice are denied. With respect
to the substantive objections to the settlement, the settlement
is fair, reasonable, and adequate, and the motion to approve
the Settlement Agreements is granted.
The Attorney Generals are plaintiffs parens patriae pursuant
to 15 U.S.C. § 15c.
Susan Robbins, Julie Ellingson, Lane Christensen, Tami Hoshii
and Virginia Nelson are all California residents and plaintiffs
in a class antitrust action in California state court against
Nintendo. Nolan M. Kennedy, Judy Brown, Iris A. Cooke, Julie
Heaton, Dolores Dyer, Kim Kirchick, Helen Rakove, Arthur
Farnsworth, III, Shirley Corbitt, Michael Mattos and Lenore
Sollecito are all California residents and plaintiffs in a
class antitrust action in the United States District Court for
the Northern District of California. They are retail purchasers
of Nintendo products that are the subject of the Settlement.
Collectively, they will be referred to as the "California
Jeff Price, Christie Price and Linda Bentley are all Alabama
residents and plaintiffs in a class antitrust action in Alabama
state court against Nintendo. They are retail purchasers of
Nintendo products that are the subject of the Settlement.
Nintendo is a corporation organized under the laws of the
State of Washington with its principal place of business in
Redmond, Washington. Nintendo, a maker of video games and
equipment, is a wholly-owned subsidiary of Nintendo Co., Ltd.,
a corporation with its principal place of business in Kyoto,
The Attorney Generals of New York and Maryland each filed a
complaint and settlement agreement on April 10, 1991, in the
United States District Court for the Southern District of New
York and for the District of Maryland, respectively. The
Attorney Generals' power to bring these actions and the Court's
jurisdiction are based on 15 U.S.C. § 15c.
On June 11 and 20, 1991, the Attorney Generals of the other
48 states and the Corporation Counsel of the District of
Columbia filed complaints and agreements that are substantially
similar to those in the New York and Maryland actions
("Settlement Agreements"). This court granted preliminary
approval to the Settlement Agreements, including the notice
provisions, on April 12, June 12, and June 20, 1991.
On July 5, 1991, the California plaintiffs filed objections
to the notice and the Settlement Agreements. Oral argument was
heard on July 25, 1991. On July 30, 1991, the court denied the
California Plaintiffs' request to include additional
information in the notice and held that the notice satisfied
due process. The court declined to rule on their substantive
objections at that time.
On September 20, 1991, the Attorney Generals and Nintendo
moved for an order to grant final approval to the Settlement
Agreements. A hearing was held on September 26, 1991.
Representatives of the Alabama and California Plaintiffs were
present at the hearing and objected to the notice that was
given and to the Settlement Agreements themselves.
The Settlement Agreements
The Settlement Agreements provide for three types of relief:
(1) damages in the form of $5.00 coupons for injured
purchasers; (2) monetary damages to be used for ...