Frequently Asked Questions

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The Notice is to inform you about the $310 million DRAM Settlements and the related claims process. The litigation is about a nationwide settlement of lawsuits accusing DRAM manufacturers of fixing the price of DRAM; a small component in a computer and other electronic devices. Eligible consumers that bought DRAM, or computers, printers, game systems, and other electronic devices can file claims and share in the Settlement funds.

The lawsuits claim that Defendants fixed the prices of DRAM from January 1, 1998 through December 31, 2002, which resulted in overcharges to people and businesses that bought DRAM or devices containing DRAM.  The Defendants deny these claims.  The Court has not decided who is right.

DRAM, which stands for Dynamic Random Access Memory, is a form of fast and inexpensive data storage essential to the operation of computers and other digital devices.  DRAM chips, which contain semiconductor integrated circuits, are normally assembled into modules (“DRAM” refers to both chips and modules).

The Settlements include the following types of DRAM: Extended data out (“EDO”); Fast-page mode (“FPM”); Reduced latency (“RLDRAM”); Synchronous (“SDRAM”); Rambus (“RDRAM”); Asynchronous (“ASYNC”); and Double data rate (“DDR”).  The Settlements do not include static random access memory (“SRAM”).

All devices containing DRAM are included in the Settlements.  From January 1, 1998 to December 31, 2002, DRAM was included in many different types of digital devices, including computers (laptops and desktops), servers, graphics cards, video game consoles, MP3 players, printers, PDA’s, DVD players, Digital Video Recorders, Point of Sale Systems and others.  If you have any question about whether or not you bought a product containing DRAM, call 1-800-589-1425.

The Settlements cover only “indirect” purchases of DRAM.  Direct purchases from the DRAM manufacturers are not covered under these Settlements.

As long as you did not buy DRAM “directly” from a DRAM manufacturer (see list of Defendants in Question 9), your purchase of DRAM or a device containing DRAM is an indirect purchase.  Usually only big companies make purchases of DRAM directly from the manufacturer. Indirect purchasers buy DRAM or devices containing DRAM from computer makers (e.g. Apple, Gateway, Dell), retailers (e.g. Best Buy, Staples, Costco), and many other resellers (e.g. CDW, Ingram Micro, Amazon.com).  If you have any question about whether you bought DRAM or a product containing DRAM indirectly, call 1-800-589-1425.

In a class action, one or more persons or businesses (“Class Representatives”) sue on behalf of a group or “class” of others with similar claims.  If the Court determines that a particular case should proceed as a class action, the entire group’s claims can be combined into a single proceeding, creating efficiencies for the parties and the courts.  In a parens patriae action, a state Attorney General brings a lawsuit on behalf of the residents of the state, and in some instances businesses in the state. In these lawsuits, the parens patriae claims have been brought on behalf of indirect purchasers of DRAM.

Participating in these Settlements are State Attorneys General from around the country, including: Arizona, Arkansas, California, Colorado, Florida, Hawaii, Idaho, Illinois, Iowa, Louisiana, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Mississippi, Nebraska, Nevada, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, North Dakota, Oklahoma, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Carolina, Tennessee, Utah, Virginia, Washington, West Virginia, and Wisconsin.

The nature of the representation by each state Attorney General varies, but includes representation of:    (1) state government entities for all; (2) local government entities for most; (3) individuals in their States in a parens patriae capacity for many; and (4) businesses in their States in a parens patriae capacity for a few.  The doctrine of parens patriae allows a State to bring claims on behalf of its residents and, in a few cases, on behalf of its businesses.  The claims asserted by the various Attorneys General are collectively referred to as the “Attorneys General Actions.”  A separate notice will be mailed to government entities where required by state law.

The claims brought by the Attorneys General, whether on behalf of state or local government entities or in a parens patriae capacity, arise from the same alleged conduct by the Defendants as that asserted in the class actions.  The Attorneys General’s lawsuits are pending in federal court; California has a second parallel action on behalf of certain of its local and state government entities in California state court.

You are included in the Class and/or Attorneys General Actions if you meet the following criteria:

  • You are a person or business that purchased DRAM or a device containing DRAM;
  • Your purchase was made anytime from January 1, 1998 through December 31, 2002;
  • Your purchase was made in the United States, which includes Puerto Rico, the Northern Mariana Islands, and the U.S. territories, or from a seller located in the United States; and
  • Your DRAM purchase was not made directly from any of the DRAM manufacturers.

Read the specific class definitions.

The Defendants are:

  • Elpida Memory, Inc., Elpida Memory (USA), Inc. (“Elpida”);
  • Hitachi, Ltd. (“Hitachi”);
  • Hynix Semiconductor Inc., Hynix Semiconductor America Inc., presently known as SK hynix Inc. and SK hynix America Inc. (“Hynix”);
  • Infineon Technologies AG, Infineon Technologies North America Corp. (“Infineon”);
  • Micron Technology, Inc., Micron Semiconductor Products, Inc. (“Micron”);
  • Mitsubishi Electric Corp., Mitsubishi Electric & Electronics USA, Inc. (“Mitsubishi”);
  • Mosel-Vitelic Corp., Mosel-Vitelic (USA), Inc. (“Mosel”);
  • Nanya Technology Corp., Nanya Technology Corp. USA, Inc. (“Nanya”);
  • NEC Electronics America, Inc., presently known as Renesas Electronics America, Inc. (“NEC”);
  • Samsung Electronics Company Ltd.; Samsung Semiconductor, Inc. (“Samsung”);
  • Toshiba Corp., Toshiba America Electronic Components, Inc. (“Toshiba”); and
  • Winbond Electronics Corp., Winbond Electronics Corporation America, Inc. (“Winbond”)

The Settlement Funds total approximately $310 million.  Approximately 89% (or 8/9ths) is for the benefit of businesses and individuals.  The other 11% (or 1/9th) of the Settlement Funds are for the benefit of state and local government entities.  The Attorneys General and Class Counsel have requested attorneys’ fees, subject to court approval, in the amount of 25% of total Settlement Funds.  After deduction of the government entity portion of the Settlements, attorneys’ fees, notice and claims administration costs, and litigation expenses, approximately $200 million is expected to be available for distribution to businesses and individuals.  Defendants have also agreed not to engage in the conduct that is at issue in these lawsuits and will establish (or maintain) programs to educate their employees about complying with the law (see Question 12).  More details about the distribution of the Settlement Funds are available in the Settlement Agreements.

Settlement Amounts:  Each Defendant’s contribution to the Settlement Fund is:

Company

Contribution

Elpida

$4,259,948

Hitachi

$5,600,000

Hynix

$49,971,842

Infineon

$29,113,776

Micron

$66,774,984

Mitsubishi

$5,600,000

Mosel

$2,848,900

Nanya

$3,823,200

NEC

$20,277,350

Samsung

$113,000,000

Toshiba

$7,450,000

Winbond

$2,000,000

Total

$310,720,000

Any interest earned will be added to the Settlement Funds.

It is expected that approximately $200 million will be paid to Class Members, including consumers represented by their state Attorney General, who file valid claims.  Payments will be determined on a pro rata basis. This means it will be based on the number of valid claims filed as well as on the number/type of DRAM modules or electronic devices containing DRAM that you purchased (only the DRAM portion of the value of devices containing DRAM will be considered for claims purposes).  At this time, it is unknown how much money each Class Member will recover.  The distribution plan provides for an anticipated minimum payment of $10 for each individual or business that makes a claim.

It is possible that money will be distributed to public or non-profit organizations in addition to or instead of Class Members who file small claims:

  • If there are fewer than 2.5 million individuals and businesses with small claims (“small claimants”), their claims will be treated as follows:
    • The small claimants’ checks will be increased pro rata above $10, up to a maximum of the estimated actual single damages from the alleged overcharge for each claimant, until the available funds up to $25 million are exhausted; and
    • If the $25 million is not exhausted, any money remaining will be distributed to non-profit organizations approved by the Court to support public or not-for-profit activities on a geographically diverse basis to address the injury alleged in the lawsuits.
  • If there are more than five million small claimants, no cash distribution will be made to them.  Instead, $40 million will be distributed to non-profit organizations approved by the Court, as described above.

For additional information call 1-800-589-1425.

Defendants have agreed not to engage in certain conduct related to the sale of DRAM that would violate the antitrust laws that are at issue in these lawsuits.  Defendants also agreed to establish (or maintain) antitrust education/compliance programs for their employees responsible for selling DRAM.  For additional information regarding the injunctive relief provisions, read the Settlement Agreements.

Simply complete and submit a Claim Form online or download a Claim Form or call 1-800-589-1425 and request that a Claim form be sent to you. Submitting your Claim Form online is the fastest and easiest way to make a claim. If you mail your Claim Form, note that it must be postmarked by August 1, 2014, and mailed to:

DRAM Indirect Purchaser Antitrust Litigation
P.O. Box 8097
Faribault, MN 55021-9497

Not with your claim, but it’s possible that the Claims Administrator may request it at a later time, so save any documentation/proof that you may still have.

You don’t need any documentation to file your claim. So don’t let that stop you. Only if the Claims Administrator ever asks for documentation will you need to provide it. The Claims Administrator understands the difficulty of maintaining records from more than a decade ago. If the Claims Administrator does request documentation, you can send a letter explaining what proof if any you have of the purchases you’ve claimed and it will be reviewed on a case-by-case basis. You can still get paid even if you don’t have any documentation.

Benefits will be distributed to Class Members, including consumers represented by their state Attorneys General after any appeals are resolved.

The Court granted approval of the Settlements on June 27, 2014. However, several appeals have been filed with the Court and we don’t know how much time it could take for them to be resolved.  Appeals may take a few years to resolve.

In order to receive a payment you must file a valid claim.  Note the deadline to file a claim is August 1, 2014.  You can visit the website or call 1-800-589-1425 for any updates.

Right now, no one knows for sure how much money any individual claimant will receive. It is expected that approximately $200 million will be paid to Class Members and consumers represented by their state Attorney General who file valid claims.  Payments will be determined on a pro rata basis. This means it will be based on the number of valid claims filed as well as on the number/type of DRAM modules or electronic devices containing DRAM that you purchased (only the DRAM portion of the value of devices containing DRAM will be considered for claims purposes).  At this time, it is unknown how much money each Class Member will recover.  The distribution plan provides for a minimum payment of $10 for each individual or business that makes a claim.

You must submit valid Claim Form in order to get a payment.

The deadline to request to be excluded from the Settlements has passed. The deadline was May 5, 2014. Unless you excluded yourself, you gave up your right to separately sue the Defendants for any claims you may have relating to this case.  The Settlement Agreements describe the released claims in detail, so read them carefully. Read the Settlement Agreements.

The deadline to request to be excluded from the Settlements has passed.  The deadline was May 5, 2014.

No.  Unless you excluded yourself you remain in the Class and Attorneys General Actions and gave up any right to separately sue Defendants for the claims made in this case.

The deadline to request to be excluded from the Settlements has passed. The deadline was May 5, 2014.

No.  If you excluded yourself, you may not make a claim and you will not be eligible to receive money from the Settlements.

The deadline to object or comment on the Settlements has passed.  The deadline to submit an objection or comment was May 5, 2014.

If you exclude yourself from the Class or Attorneys General Actions you are telling the Court that you don’t want to participate in the Settlements. Therefore, you will not be eligible to receive any benefits from the Settlements and you will not be able to object to the Settlements. Objecting to the Settlements simply means telling the Court that you don’t like something about the Settlements. Objecting does not disqualify you from making a claim nor does it make you ineligible to receive a payment.

The Court has appointed the following law firms as Class Counsel to represent you and all other members of the class: Cooper & Kirkham, P.C.; Straus & Boies, LLP; Gustafson Gluek PLLC; and The Mogin Law Firm, P.C.  Attorneys General in a number of states are also representing individuals in their states.  If you have any question about the Settlements, you can talk to Class Counsel or the Offices of the Attorneys General listed in Question ­­7, or you can retain your own lawyer at your own expense.

You do not need to separately pay the Court-appointed lawyers or the Attorneys General.  Class Counsel and the Attorneys General, who have advanced significant sums over many years in litigating these cases, have requested attorneys’ fees of 25% of the total Settlement Funds, plus reimbursement of their costs and expenses.  Any award of fees, expenses, and costs comes out of the Settlement Funds and is subject to Court approval.

The opportunity to comment on or object to the request for attorneys’ fees has passed.  The deadline was May 5, 2014.

The attorneys’ motion for fees, costs, and expenses (including the Class Representative payments) are available in Court Documents.

The Court held a Fairness Hearing on June 25, 2014 and granted final approval of the Settlements on June 27, 2014.

At the Fairness Hearing the Court considered whether these Settlements were fair, reasonable and adequate, and the amount to award counsel for attorneys’ fees.  Any objections or comments that were submitted to the Court were considered at the hearing.

The Complaints, Settlement Agreements and other documents are available under the Court Documents section of this website.

You can get more information about the Settlements by calling 1-800-589-1425 or writing to DRAM Indirect Purchaser Antitrust Litigation, P.O. Box 8097, Faribault, MN 55021-9497.