CLEVELAND, Ohio — Nearly nine years after Eaton Corp.sued rival Frisby Aerospace, alleging theft of trade secrets, the adversaries are headed to trial in Jackson, Miss.
But instead of preparing to press its claims against Frisby and six engineers, Eaton is a defendant in a Frisby countersuit.
Eaton-Frisby trade-secrets legal battle has Cleveland company now on defense in Hinds County, Miss
Frisby’s counterclaim alleges that Eaton initially sued Frisby to prevent the North Carolina company from landing a lucrative contract to supply hydraulic pumps and motors to the Boeing Dreamliner aircraft. Frisby has been renamed Triumph Actuation Systems.
It’s that countersuit that is now set for trial starting Nov. 4 in Jackson.
Eaton’s original multimillion dollar lawsuit, filed in 2004, said the engineers stole confidential drawings and other documents from Eaton Aerospace in Jackson, Miss., where they worked before taking jobs at Frisby headquarters outside Winston-Salem, N.C.
A Hinds County, Miss., judge dismissed the lawsuit in December 2010, saying he found clear and convincing evidence that Eaton hired a politically connected go-between who secretly tried to influence an earlier judge in the case.
Eaton said its lawyers had no knowledge of any clandestine activity aimed at influencing the judge in the case.
Eaton’s appeal of the lawsuit dismissal is pending before the Mississippi Supreme Court.