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Court upholds dismissal of trade secrets lawsuit

MSSC Decision on Eaton v. Frisby




The Mississippi Supreme Court has declined a request from Eaton Corp. to reinstate its $1 billion trade secrets lawsuit against a rival, Frisby Aerospace.

The Supreme Court, in a unanimous decision Thursday, upheld a Hinds County judge's ruling that Eaton knew about and sanctioned secret actions that attorney Ed Peters took to influence former judge Bobby DeLaughter, the initial judge on the case.

Frisby attorneys said Peters worked behind the scenes to influence DeLaughter and give Eaton an unfair advantage in the civil case.

Eaton attorney argued there was no "clear and convincing evidence" that Eaton was guilty of fraud and the lower court used the wrong standard in dismissing the case and issuing a $1.5 million fine.

Eaton alleged in its lawsuit that five former Eaton engineers took aerospace information and gave it to their new employer, Frisby. Eaton and Frisby, which is now part of Triumph Group, compete for military and commercial contracts.

Supreme Court Justice Randy Pierce said $1.5 million sanction to Eaton was justified because the company committed "an abuse of the truth-seeking process" by concealing documents from Frisby.

As for the contact between Peters and DeLaugher, Pierce said: "We find the evidence here clearly and convincingly shows that Eaton, through its officers, knew that Peters had engaged in improper ex parte communication with Judge DeLaughter on Eaton's behalf to advance Eaton's interests in this lawsuit."


Houston Chronicle
11/21/13

Posted November 22, 2013 - 8:05 am

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