The Commercial Court has handed down judgment in the case of Porton v 3M. The case is notorious for the meeting which the former Secretary of State for Defence held with a representative of the Claimants. The Claimants sought damages of up to $56 million, but were awarded only $1.3 million after a trial occupying 24 court days. The Court will rule at a later date on the question of liability for the costs of the proceedings in the light of the Court's findings and other related matters.
The issues in the case included whether 3M was in breach of an earn out provision in the contract by the way that it ran a business making and selling a product for the detection of MRSA in hospitals, whether 3M was entitled to cease the business and what sales would have been achieved. 3M was successful in defeating all the allegations based on the way that it operated the business and in achieving a finding that the sales would in any event have been very low indeed. An additional allegation that 3M's parent company was responsible for inducing a breach of contract was also rejected by the Court.
The judgment is here.
Mark Howard QC and Simon Salzedo QC represented 3M at the trial.