Samsung Semiconductor, Inc. and Samsung Electronics Company, Ltd. have agreed to a $90 million settlement of a class action lawsuit filed on behalf of indirect purchasers of DRAM computer chips.
Lawsuits were originally filed in numerous states on behalf of consumers who indirectly purchased DRAM or products containing DRAM from January 1, 1999, to December 31, 2002. The suits alleged that manufacturers of DRAM conspired to fix the price of the chips, resulting in consumers paying more for the chips or for products containing them, including computers. The Judicial Panel for Multidistrict Litigation then consolidated cases before the United States District Court for the Northern District of California, San Francisco Division, where the case is currently pending. Attorneys General for 23 states, including West Virginia, have intervened in the case on behalf of their respective state governments.
Under the proposed agreement, $10 million dollars of the settlement will be placed in a fund for division amongst the state governments pursuing the claim. The remaining $80 million will be placed in a fund for division amongst indirect purchaser consumers of DRAM. Samsung has also agreed to refrain from anti-competitive conduct in the future, and to cooperate in the continuing litigation against other manufacturers. The proposed settlement is subject to Court approval, and will be brought before the Court for preliminary approval in the near future. If the settlement is approved, notice will be given to class members nationwide.
The case remains pending against other DRAM manufacturers, including Elpida Memory, Inc., Hynix Semiconductor, Inc., Infineon Technologies, AG, Micron Technology, Inc., Mosel Vitelic, Inc., Nanya Technology Corporation, NEC Electronics America, Inc., and some of their related companies.