Judicial probe puts $1B Hinds case on hold

Eaton Corp. alleges in the lawsuit that former employees, all engineers, stole trade secrets for military contracts from their Jackson company and gave them to their new employer, Frisby Aerospace, a North Carolina competitor.

Alan Perry, one of Frisby’s attorneys, argued today that the lawsuit should be stayed because of former Hinds County District Attorney Ed Peters’ alleged attempt to corrupt the court and that a federal criminal case against the engineers have hampered the defense.

“We have been done wrong and we are asking for justice,” Perry told Hinds County Circuit Judge Swan Yerger.

Peters, a former longtime Hinds District attorney, once was Hinds County Circuit Judge Bobby DeLaughter’s boss when DeLaughter was an assistant district attorney in the 1990s.

Perry and other Frisby attorneys maintain that rulings began going in Eaton’s favor when Peters became one of their attorneys.

DeLaughter stepped down from the case in January 2008. He was suspended in March 2008 by the state Supreme Court until the outcome of complaints filed against him in the Eaton case and others, can be resolved. He has since been indicted in an unrelated judiciary bribery scandal accusing him of being corrupt.

Neither DeLaughter nor Peters have been criminally charged in the case.

Yerger eventually ruled today that actions in the Eaton Corp.’s lawsuit should be halted until it could be determined what role, if any, Peters, a former Eaton attorney, had on DeLaughter’s decisions.

Clarion Ledger