Preti Flaherty Wins $19 million Jury Verdict for Semi-Materials Co., Ltd.
A Jury in St. Louis Federal Court Renders Verdict for Semi-Materials in Breach of International Sales Contract Case
PORTLAND, ME (March 3, 2011) – Preti Flaherty announced today that a federal jury in St. Louis, MO has ordered St. Peters, MO based MEMC Electronic Materials, Inc. (NYSE: WFR) to pay $19 million to Semi-Materials Co., Ltd., a Korean manufacturer of solar energy products, for breach of international sales agreements to sell polysilicon and silicon ingots. Semi-Materials was represented by the law firms Preti Flaherty of Portland, ME and Menees, Whitney, Burnet & Trog of Clayton, MO during a seven-day jury trial in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Missouri in St. Louis. The seven-person jury rendered its verdict on March 2, 2011 before U.S. Magistrate Judge Frederick R. Buckles.
Preti Flaherty filed the lawsuit in 2006 against MEMC Electronic Materials, Inc. and MEMC Pasadena, Inc., both U.S. manufacturers of polysilicon, for breach of sales agreements. The team of Preti Flaherty attorneys included lead trial attorney Greg Hansel, along with Randall B. Weill, Joshua R. Carver, Megan A. Sanders, Adam T. Rick and paralegal Julie DeFrancesco. Attorney Hardy Menees of St. Louis, MO served as Missouri trial counsel. MEMC was represented by Bryan Cave, a global law firm headquartered in St. Louis, MO.
This complex breach of contract claim was decided under United Nations Convention on Contracts for the International Sale of Goods, an international treaty on commercial transactions that has been adopted by Congress into U.S. law.
Preti Flaherty successfully proved that MEMC had breached three contracts to sell initial shipments of goods at a high price and later shipments at a low price. The high-low contracts between MEMC and Semi-Materials were the subject of an audit of MEMC's filings with the SEC. The auditors, KPMG, forced MEMC to restate its earnings in amended SEC filings.
According to Greg Hansel of Preti Flaherty, "This jury verdict is a clear victory for Semi-Materials after five years of hard fought litigation. We appreciate the jury's thorough deliberation which not only vindicates our client, but also upholds the letter of the law and the spirit of international trade."
Kun Park of Seoul, Korea, who serves as CEO of Semi-Materials, testified during the trial, along with MEMC's former CEO, Nabeel Gareeb, who appeared via court-ordered video deposition. Semi-Materials' witnesses spoke to the jury through an interpreter in their native Korean language.
Semi-Materials Co., Ltd is a Korean supplier of solar energy products based in Seoul, Korea with a U.S. facility located in San Jose, CA. Learn more about Semi-Materials at www.semimaterials.com.
About Preti Flaherty
Preti Flaherty has offices in Boston, MA, Concord, NH, Portland and Augusta, ME, Bedminster, NJ and Washington, DC. With more than 90 attorneys, the firm counsels clients in the areas of business law, franchise law, energy, environmental, estate planning, health care, intellectual property, international law, labor and employment, legislative and regulatory, litigation, technology and telecommunications. More information about the firm is available at www.preti.com.