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Class Scores in Electronics Antitrust Action

SAN FRANCISCO (CN) - A motion brought by several semiconductor companies to exclude expert witness testimony and decertify the classes in an antitrust action was rejected by U.S. District Judge Claudia Wilken.

In the action, classes of customers in 25 states claimed sellers conspired to fix prices between 1996 and 2006 for a type of memory device found in cell phones and computers called static random access memory.

The alleged conspirators, which include Samsung Electronics Company, Cypress Semiconductor Corporation and Alliance Semiconductor Corporation, moved to exclude expert witness testimony that measured the price effects on consumers and analyzed liability and damages.

One expert, Dr. Michael Harris, assessed whether information exchanged by the companies amounted to anticompetitive activity and whether it harmed consumers. He concluded that the companies colluded to raise the price of the memory device above competitive levels and estimated damages at $276 million.

Wilken found no evidence that any of the expert witnesses were unreliable and refused to exclude their testimony. Wilken further denied the motion to decertify the nationwide class and most of the state classes, finding they had proved their purchase of a sufficient amount of electronic memory from the defendants.

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