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Structural Polymer Group, Ltd. v. Zoltek Corp.

United States Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit
543 F.3d 987 (2008)



Structural Polymer Group, Ltd. and Structural Polymer Systems (SP) (plaintiffs) manufactured a building material called “prepreg” using carbon fiber. Zoltek Corporation (Zoltek) (defendant) entered a ten-year requirements contract to supply SP’s carbon fiber. SP had no requirements at the time. The agreement covered a large-tow carbon fiber product called Panex 33, which is lower cost and quality than small-tow carbon fiber. The contract gave SP the option to buy from different suppliers if Zoltek could not meet lower prices. In 2002, Zoltek stopped making Panex 33 and started making a similar product called Panex 35. SP did not buy any carbon fiber for two years, but did order Panex 35 in 2004. Later, SP ordered two shipments of Panex 35 that were never filled. SP sued Zoltek for breach. At trial, the parties disputed whether SP was entitled to both Panex 33 and Panex 35. SP offered alternative damage calculations based on each product. The jury awarded SP lost profits based on SP’s calculations for damages using both Panex 33 and Panex 35 but declined to award future lost profits. The district court reduced the duplicative damage award. Zoltek moved for a new trial and judgment as a matter of law, which were denied. SP appealed the damage reduction, and Zoltek appealed the denial of its motions.

Rule of Law


Holding and Reasoning (Colloton, J.)

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