Defendant moved for summary judgment on the grounds that plaintiffs’ securities fraud class action was filed after the two year statute of limitations expired. The Court agreed that sufficient information about the possibility of fraudulent conduct was available to plaintiffs more than two years before commencement of the lawsuit. The Court found that this “inquiry notice” arose from, among other things, press reports regarding a Department of Justice investigation of price-fixing by defendant and other computer chip manufacturers, the filing of over 20 civil antitrust cases against defendant, and the link between defendant’s stock price and the price of its computer chips.
Significantly, the Court ruled that “inquiry notice” alone did not trigger the statute of limitations and that the defendant also had to show that an investor “exercising reasonable diligence, should have discovered sufficient facts to satisfy the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act’s heightened pleading requirements” more than two years before filing suit. With respect to this element, while the Court found that evidence was publicly available which “at first glance” could have enabled plaintiffs to satisfy the PSLRA’s pleading standards, it held that whether or not a reasonable investor should have uncovered such evidence within the two-year limitations period presented a disputed question of fact that could not be resolved on a motion for summary judgment. (In re Micron Technologies, Inc. Securities Litigation, 2007 WL 576468 (D. Id. Feb. 21, 2007))