TALLAHASSEE, FL – LAWFUEL – Attorney General Bill McCollum today announced that Florida and 41 other states have signed a $90 million settlement with Samsung Semiconductor, Inc. and Samsung Electronics Company Ltd. The agreement resolves allegations that the companies participated in a nationwide conspiracy to fix the price of dynamic random access memory
(DRAM) chips between 1999 and 2002.
“In Florida, companies will not be permitted to collude to harm the public,” McCollum said. “I am pleased that this settlement will provide much-needed relief to those who were on the losing end of the scheme.”
Samsung will pay $80 million to U.S. consumers and businesses who overpaid for DRAM chips and for equipment containing DRAM, such as computers, servers and other electronic devices. An additional $10 million will be paid to state agencies in the 42 states involved in the settlement, including those in Florida. Additionally, the settlement requires Samsung to refrain from anti-competitive conduct. The company and its subsidiary must also provide extensive cooperation to the states in their prosecution of other DRAM manufacturers for similar conduct. Florida consumers’ share of the settlement will depend on the number of claims filed. The settlement remains subject to court approval.
Last July, Florida and 36 other states sued seven foreign and domestic firms, other than Samsung, that manufacture DRAM chips, along with their U.S. subsidiaries, as a result of their roles in the same price-fixing scheme. The lawsuit is seeking millions of dollars in damages to private citizens and governmental agencies that purchased DRAM chips and equipment that contained the chips. The complaint alleged that the companies were able to charge higher than competitive prices for DRAM chips as a result of the scheme, artificially restrained supply, allocated the production and markets for the chips among themselves and rigged bids for DRAM chip contracts.
Computer manufacturers affected by the DRAM price-fixing conspiracy include Apple Computer, Inc., Compaq Computer Corp., Dell, Inc., Gateway, Inc., Hewlett-Packard Co., and IBM. Florida consumers and Florida public entity computer purchasers absorbed these overcharges.
The multi-state lawsuit originated from an investigation that began in 2004, following a federal criminal probe that exposed a scheme where DRAM manufacturers profited at the expense of the consumers in the computer and electronics industry. As part of the federal court case, Samsung, Hynix, Infineon, Elpida and numerous individuals pled guilty to federal criminal price-fixing charges and paid more than $730 million in fines. The multi-state lawsuit filed last summer continues.
To view a copy of the settlement with Samsung, please click here.