Dinn, Hochman & Potter, LLC

Aerospace companies involved in long-running legal battle

A Ohio founded aerospace company known as Eaton Corp. has been trapped in business litigation since 2004. The legal clashes are between Eaton and Frisby Aerospace, a rival company. The issues began when Eaton filed suit, claiming that Frisby had hired six engineers who then stole Eaton trade secrets and used them in their work at the other company.

Eaton points to evidence recovered in an FBI raid of a Frisby facility near Winston-Salem, North Carolina. The raid revealed plans and parts specifications for several sensitive military projects from Eaton. The engineers at Frisby have stated that the documents were not special and accidentally brought from Eaton when the workers changed employers. Eventually, the claim was thrown out, but Frisby filed an ongoing countersuit.

The countersuit suggests that Eaton is involved in unfair competition practices and has defamed and maliciously prosecuted Frisby. Frisby is seeking damages totaling $376 million, according to a filling by Eaton with the Securities and Exchange Commission. It contends that Eaton's lawsuit caused a loss of contract because Frisby had placed a successful bid to develop the hydraulic system for the Boeing Dreamliner. Frisby lost the work, which was estimated to be worth about $1 billion.

Commercial litigation is often complex and the stakes may be very high. Other business that become involved in disputes over property or who face allegations of defamation may wish to consult with an attorney. An attorney familiar with business litigation may be able to help a client understand options available for recovering damages caused by the actions of competitors.

Source: Cleveland.com, "Eaton says aerospace rival claims at least $376 million in damages", Alison Grant, March 06, 2014

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