Ron Schiller, Mike Carlson, Kyle Heisner and Liz Dolce successfully represented Azer Scientific Incorporated, a Pennsylvania-based manufacturer and supplier of laboratory products, in a jury trial in the Eastern District of Pennsylvania. Following a week-long trial, the jury awarded damages of more than $8.5 million.

Azer sued Quidel Corporation, a global diagnostic healthcare manufacturer, claiming Quidel breached a contract between the parties involving the manufacturing and supply of a component for Quidel’s at-home Covid-19 test kits. In March 2021, Azer agreed to make the liquid solution and fill the 2mL tubes that come in those test kits, and Quidel agreed to buy 120 million of those tubes for a 12-month commitment period (10 million tubes per month) for more than $10 million. The essential terms were agreed upon via email, a fact that Quidel hotly disputed. With that agreement, Azer purchased the specially-made machines needed to fill Quidel’s tubes, investing substantial time and money into getting the machines up and running. As the jury ultimately concluded, Quidel breached the contract in June 2021 when it informed Azer that it needed to significantly “ramp down” its demand due to declining sales forecasts.

Azer faced some challenges at trial, including accusations that it was unable to perform at the time of the breach, sharp testimony from Quidel witnesses and Quidel’s last-minute decision to forego calling its own expert witness, whose opinion actually supported Azer’s damages claim. The jury rejected Quidel’s arguments that it was willing to proceed with the contract and only wanted minimal flexibility due to a short-term diminished projection for Covid test kits. Lead attorney Ron Schiller observed, “The jury recognized, rightly so, that Quidel had breached its contract when it attempted to ‘ramp down’ before Azer was permitted to begin shipping filled tubes.”

The case was also unusual for the summary judgment ruling we won, establishing that an enforceable contract existed by virtue of an email expressing Quidel’s “commitment” notwithstanding the ongoing discussions after that about a purchase order and a supply agreement. The parties never signed the purchase order or a supply agreement despite exchanging drafts for months.