$89 Million Payday for Antitrust Lawyers

Holy payday Batman.  A special master has recommended approval of $89 million in legal fees and costs in the $310.7 million settlement of DRAM antitrust claims with lawyers for indirect purchasers of the chips.

Retired federal judge Charles Renfrew issued a 67-page report Tuesday recommending the requested fee of 25 percent of the total settlement fund is “fair and reasonable and in keeping with the precedent of the Ninth Circuit.”

In addition to the $77.6 million pay day, he recommends lawyers recover $6.3 million in expenses and that the participating state attorneys general be reimbursed $5.4 million.

Lastly, each of the 140 plaintiffs in other state and federal cases should receive a $5,000 incentive award, he said.

DRAM stands for dynamic random access memory chips used in computers, laptops and workstations and some video game consoles. The protracted antitrust lawsuit was filed by purchasers of computers containing DRAM, rather than directly purchasing just the chips.  Under antitrust law, this group is considered an indirect purchaser class.

Defendants included Hynix, Infineon, Elpida Memory Inc., Micron technology, NEC Electronics America, Mosel Vitelic and Nanya Technology.

The claims arose after the U.S. Department of Justice began a criminal investigation in 2002 of alleged price-fixing among DRAM makers.

Micron agreed to cooperate in exchange for amnesty. Others, including Samsung, Hynix, Infineon and Elpida pled guilty to price-fixing and paid $730 million in fines.

Class counsel are: Guido Saveri of Saveri & Saveri in San Francisco, Steve Berman, of Hagens Berman Sobol Shapiro in Seattle and Fred Isquith of Wolf, Haldenstein Alder Freeman & Herz in New York. (And a cast of dozens  more.)

The fee recommendation must be approved by U.S. District Judge Phyllis Hamilton in Oakland, Calif.

Case:  In re DRAM Antitrust Litigation, No. M-02-1486PJH





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