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Two In-House Lawyers Are Let Go After Judge Demands Explanation of Belated Email Production

Posted May 31, 2012 2:49 PM CDT
By Martha Neil

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Updated: A Mississippi lawsuit filed by Eaton Corp. in 2004 resulted in fireworks earlier this month when a judge overseeing the Hinds County circuit court case ordered a number of executives and lawyers to explain why controversial email related to the litigation wasn't timely produced.

Now two in-house lawyers have been let go, including the company's chief litigation counsel, Vic Leo, although there is no confirmation from Eaton that the layoffs are related to the discovery dispute, the Plain Dealer reports.

A subsequent Corporate Counsel article links to a copy of the judge's May 10 order (PDF).

The 2004 suit alleged that five engineers who formerly worked for Eaton took trade secrets with them when they moved to competitor Frisby Aerospace, which is now known as Triumph Actuation Systems, the newspaper recounts. It was dismissed in 2011, after a new judge assigned to the case contended that Eaton was "aware of, and in fact sanctioned" claimed efforts by an outside individual to influence the former presiding judge, Bobby DeLaughter.

Eaton is appealing the dismissal to the state supreme court, and a company spokesman says it complied with the judge's order about the email explanation.

Meanwhile, the DeLaughter allegations resulted in a flurry of new litigation that is also ongoing.

Leo and litigation counsel Sharon O'Flaherty, who was also let go, did not respond to messages from the newspaper seeking comment.

Related coverage:

ABAJournal.com (2009): "Miss. Judge Bobby DeLaughter Pleads Guilty to Scruggs-Related Obstruction"

Plain Dealer (2011): "Eaton lawsuit thrown out over attorney misdeeds"

Plain Dealer: "Eaton CEO ordered to assure court has received all records in Mississippi lawsuit over trade secrets"

Updated at 4:47 p.m. to include Corporate Counsel coverage.

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