SAN FRANCISCO A class action lawsuit has been filed against Micron Technology Inc. on behalf of an institutional investor by San Diego law firm Lerach Coughlin Stoia Geller Rudman & Robbins LLP.
The complaint, filed in U.S. District Court for the District of Idaho, alleges that Micron and certain of its officers and directors violated the Securities Exchange Act of 1934.
The complaint alleges that Micron was engaged with other DRAM suppliers in a price-fixing scheme between Feb. 24, 2001, and Feb. 13, 2003. During this period, the complaint alleges, the defendants falsified the company's public statements and financial reporting by concealing the "conspiracy" from the investing public, improperly inflating Micron's earnings. As a result of Micron's alleged participation in illegal price-fixing activities, the company's sales and earnings reports and forecasts issued during this period were false and misleading, the complaint states.
According to the suit, as a result of alleged false and misleading statements, Micron's shares traded at inflated prices, enabling the company to issue more than $632 million worth of debt during 2003, sell more than $480 million worth of warrants and complete numerous stock-for-stock acquisitions using inflated shares as acquisition currency. Insiders also sold approximately $4.5 million worth of personally held Micron stock at inflated prices during the period, the complaint alleges.
The U.S. Justice Department has been investigating allegations of price fixing among DRAM suppliers in the early part of the decade for more than a year. Samsung Electronics pled guilty to price-fixing charges, agreeing to pay a $300 million fine, last October. Hynix Semiconductor agreed to pay a $185 million fine in connection with the probe last year, and Germany's Infineon Technologies AG agreed to pay a $160 million fine in 2004.
A Micron executive in New York state was charged in 2004 in connection with the federal DRAM probe. Micron accepted the executive's resignation.
The class action suit seeks unspecified damages. The plaintiff is named as the City of Roseville Employees' Retirement System.