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California Jury Awards Beckman Coulter $934 Million

Originally Published MX November/December 2003


The plaintiff was reportedly as surprised as the defendant when an Orange County, CA, superior court jury awarded medical device maker Beckman Coulter Inc. (Fullerton, CA) $934 million in a case involving a contract dispute with contract electronics manufacturer Flextronics (Singapore).

The case dates back to 1997, when Beckman Coulter entered into an agreement with Dovatron, a unit of the Dii Group, to provide circuit boards for a Beckman blood analyzer. Flextronics acquired the Dii Group in 1999 and, according to Beckman, shortly thereafter Flextronics refused to provide the circuit boards unless it bought other electronic components from the company.

Beckman filed suit in early 2001, seeking $2.2 million in damages, which were cited as the costs incurred in having to retool one of its plants to manufacture the circuit boards in-house.

During the trial, held this past summer, Beckman executives acknowledged under cross-examination that Flextronics did not miss a shipment and that Beckman Coulter did not miss any orders for its blood analyzer.

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