Appeals court upholds judge’s Eaton decisions

djournal_Court-NewsBy Patsy R. Brumfield

Daily Journal

JACKSON – The Mississippi Supreme Court upheld a circuit court decision Thursday to throw out Eaton Corp.’s $1 billion trade secrets lawsuit against rival Frisby Aerospace.

In a 9-0 decision, the high court upheld a Hinds County circuit judge’s ruling that Eaton knew about and sanctioned secret actions that attorney Ed Peters took to influence then-Judge Bobby DeLaughter, who first presided over the case.

Frisby’s attorneys claimed that Peters’ communications with his longtime friend gave Eaton an unfair advantage in the civil case, which began nearly a decade ago.

In December 2010, as the next presiding judge left office, he threw out Eaton’s claims, blaming their improper conduct, upheld a large damages award to Frisby and retained Frisby’s counterclaims against Eaton.

Eaton appealed to the Supreme Court, insisting it did not commit fraud that the lower court used the wrong standard in dismissing the case.

Eaton alleged in its lawsuit that five former Eaton engineers took aerospace information and gave it to their new employer, Frisby.

patsy.brumfield@journalinc.com