the whole shebang

March 9, 2007

Class Action Lawsuit Regarding DRAM memory and DDR Semiconductor Devices

Filed under: Legal Issues — wholeshebang @ 12:03 am

I forgot I signed up online to recieve notices in the mail, because this issue must not have got much coverage. I just recieved the document, entitled “NOTICE OF PARTIAL CLASS ACTION SETTLEMENTS“. (Note, OK, I just remembered I saw this in the local paper…I’m suprized I haven’t seen information online, like I do with the ongoing SCO crap.)

Several plaintiffs filed a class action lawsuit against several sellers of various types of DRAM and also DDR Semiconductor Devices. It is a lawsuit regarding violation of antitrust laws, including allegations of price fixing and allocate major customers and accounts among themselves between April 1, 1999, and June 30, 2002. The document points out that the Defendants deny any wrongdoing, but that Elpida and certain employees have pleaded guilty to criminal violations of federal antitrust laws.

Overview of How Class-Action Lawsuits Work:

(Note: I am not a lawyer. This is just a rough outline of how it works.)

  • One or more plaintiffs file a class-action lawsuit. Class-actions are, by definition, files on behalf of affected consumers or entities, not just the ones who filed.
  • The counsel hired by the plaintiffs extensively investigate the claims.
  • The court gives the class-action lawsuit permission to proceed.
  • Public notices of the class-action lawsuit are taken out.
  • Because this is a system by which lawsuits are able to be filed on behalf of the general public, anyone effected cannot pursue their own seperate actions, now or later, without excluding themselves from “the class” (people who will be able to collect money if the class-action is successful).
  • To remain in the class, you do nothing (except, sign up to recieve notices or notify the “Class Administrator” if, perhaps, you recieved notification at an incorrect address).
  • Defendants may decide to settle with the plaintiffs based on their chances of winning or losing, or how costly it will be to defend themselves, especially if they are not sure of the outcome.
  • If defendants decide not to settle, a judge will eventually decide the case. If defendants decide to settle, the process is shortened.
  • Once a settlement is proposed, a court hearing is held to determine if the settlement is fair for both parties (the Defendants and the Class).
  • Any Class member may appear and be heard at the hearing; Class members may also file written objections to the proposed settlement in writing to the court (and members who wish to actually appear must still file a written objection).
  • Settlements often include an agreement to make installment payments to start being made even before the hearing, and held in escrow, as in this case.
  • If the settlements are approved by the court, members of the Class (consumers or other affected parties) must file their claims to recieve restitution.
  • Lawyers for the Class are allowed to cover costs plus attorney’s fees up to 25% of the settlement claim (i.e., the get filthy rich), the Plaintiffs who filed recieve some “incentive benefits” (no idea what they are) for filing, and the rest is distributed to Class members who file d claims.

Or, the short explaination…save your reciepts!

What the Lawsuit is Regarding:

This Class-action lawsuit is on behalf of anyone who directly purchased from the Defendants the following items (not purchased a product containing such a device):

  • DDR (double data rate) synchronous dynamic random access memory semiconductor devices and (memory?) modules
  • SDRAM (synchronous dynamic random access memory)
  • RDRAM (Rambus dynamic random access memory)
  • ASYNC (asynchronous dynamic random access memory)
  • FPM DRAM
  • EDO DRAM
  • BEDO DRAM
  • in short, all types of DRAM

The Defendants (from whom you may have purchased the items):

Micron
Includes Micron Technologies, Inc., and Micron Semiconductor Products, Inc. (through Crucial Technology, i.e., http://www.crucial.com)
Elpida
Includes Elpida Memory, Inc., and Elpida Memory (USA), Inc.
NEC
NEC Electronics America, Inc.
Winbond
Includes Winbond Electronics Corporation and Winbond Electronics Corporation America

Previous Settlements Were Also Reached With:

The document also mentions some settlements were already reached with other companies, in the total amount of $160,750,000 (one hundred sixty million, seven hundred fifty thousand dollars). It says that these companies and certain of their employees have pleaded guilty to criminal violations of federal antitrust laws.

  • Infineon Technologies AG
  • Infineon Technologies NOrth America Corp.
  • Samsung Semiconductor, Inc.
  • Hynix Semiconductor, Inc.
  • Nynix Semiconductor America, Inc.

Amount of Proposed Settlements:

Amounts are in United States Dollars (USD).

  • Elpida: $14,750,000 (fourteen million seven hundred fifty thousand dollars)
  • NEC: $35,960,000 (thirty-five million nine hundred sixty thousand dollars)
  • Winbond: $2,000,000 (two million dollars)
  • Micron: $90,537,000 (ninety million five hundred thirty-seven thousand five hundred dollars)

That all totals a whopping $222,513,700 (two hundred twenty-two million, five hundred thirteen thousand, seven hundred dollars).

To Benefit From the Settlement:

You need to have bought the mentioned products directly from one of the Defendants (including those who have already settled).

Save your proof of purchase (reciept, etc.)

To recieve notices or correct your address, send a letter with your correct address to:

DRAM Antitrust Litigation
c/o Rust consulting, Inc.
P.O. Fox 24657
West Palm Beach, FL 33416

To (optionally appear) and Object to the Proposed Settlement at the Fairness Hearing:

You must file your objection in writing, no later than March 26, 2007, to 8 places — the Clerk of the court, the 3 counsel for the Class, and the 4 counsel for the Defense:

Clerk
United States District Court for the Northern District of California
450 Golden Gate Avenue
San Francisco, CA 94102

Class Counsel

Guido Saveri
R. Alexander Saveri
Saveri & Saveri, Inc.
111 Pine St, Suite 1700
San Francisco, CA 94111
Anthony D. Shapiro
Hagens Berman Sobol Shapiro LLP
1301 Fifth Avenue, Suite 2900
Seattle, WA 98101
Fred Taylor Isquith
Wolf, Haldenstein, Adler, Freeman & Herz
270 Madison Avenue
New York, NY 10016

Counsel for the Settling Defendants

James G. Kreissman
Harrison J. Frahn IV
Simpson Thacher & Bartlett LLP
2550 Hanover St
Palo Alto, CA 94304
Steven H. Morrissett
Finnegan, Henderson, Farabow, Garrett & Dunner LLP
Stanford Research Park
700 Hansen Way
Palo Alto, CA 94304
Robert B. Pringle
Paul R. Griffin
Thelen Reid Brown Raysman & Steiner LLP
101 Second St, Suite 1800
San Francisco, CA 94105
Joel S. Sanders
Gibson Dunn & Crutcher LLP
One Montgomery St, Suite 3100
San Francisco, CA 94104

To collect money when final settlement is reached, instructions come after the decision. You need to sign up to get the legal notices to guarantee you recieve the information in a timely manner.

Exclusion:

You cannot exclude yourself from the Class now, that date has already passed. Exclusion allows you to not be a party to the class-action lawsuit, but reserve your right to pursue relief on your own. Remaining in the class only waives your right to take legal action relating to these allegations, it does not affect, for example, getting a refund for a faulty product.

Related Inquiries and Info:

Written Inquiries:

You may contact the Class Administrator (Rust Consulting) and any of the Class Counsel. (See addresses above.)

Phone Inquiries:

You may contact the Class Administrator by phone at (866) 483-9938.

To Inspect Court Documens:

You may visit the Clerk of the Court at the address above during normal business hours.

Online Copies of Settlement Agreements:

http://www.DRAMantitrustsettlement.com

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2 Comments »

  1. All pages are PDF on http://www.DRAMantitrustsettlement.com except the front page. Just thought I’d point it out because the website doesn’t say that.

    (I find that strange…shouldn’t legal announcements be required to note PDFs the same way government websites are? That’s one of many requirements for an “accessible” website.)

    Comment by wholeshebang — March 9, 2007 @ 12:48 am | Reply

  2. thank you… very well written summary and useful to the public who are interested in the subject but either do not care or find it diffcult to navigate and understand typical text book definitions of legal terminology, etc. keep up the good work!

    Comment by r williams — October 8, 2008 @ 12:51 pm | Reply


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