JACKSON — Bernstein Liebhard, LLP, of New York, has commenced a class-action lawsuit in the United States District Court for the Northern District of Ohio on behalf of a class of purchasers of Eaton Corporation common stock between August 2, 2009, and June 4, 2012.
The complaint alleges that Eaton issued false and misleading statements concerning its executives’ involvement in a scheme to improperly influence a Mississippi state court judge in litigation the company had initiated against rival manufacturer Frisby Aerospace Inc. More specifically, the complaint alleges that Eaton managers knew, but repeatedly caused Eaton to deny, that Eaton had engaged Mississippi attorney Ed Peters to improperly influence Bobby DeLaughter, the presiding judge in the Eaton-Frisby litigation. DeLaughter later recused himself from the Eaton case when he became embroiled in an unrelated lawsuit involving Mississippi attorney Richard Scruggs. DeLaughter was sentenced to 18 months in prison after admitting he lied to FBI agents about conversations he had with Peters in the Scruggs case. Judge Swan Yerger, who replaced Judge DeLaughter, subsequently dismissed Eaton’s lawsuit against Frisby after deciding there was “clear and convincing” evidence that Eaton had hired Peters to secretly influence DeLaughter.
On May 31, 2012, Eaton’s CEO and senior executives filed affidavits with the court, which admitted that Eaton had failed to turn over records showing that Eaton had improperly, and possibly illegally, attempted to influence Judge DeLaughter.