Appeals Court rules against VT Halter in Navy-trade secrets lawsuit

PASCAGOULA — Federal prosecutors say the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in New Orleans has vacated a $1.4 million judgment against the Navy for allegedly disclosing trade secrets on the design of a military craft to a rival.

U.S. Attorney Jim Letten says the appellate court has ruled against United States Marine Inc. and Pascagoula-based VT Halter Marine Inc., Gulf Coast shipbuilders that charged the Navy disclosed designs for a high-speed military vessel to a competitor.

The Justice Department argued the federal Court of Federal Claims should take the case, not a federal district court. The matter nonetheless went to trial in district court and the plaintiffs were awarded $1.4 million.

But the 5th Circuit now says the case needs to be heard by the Court of Federal Claims in Washington and vacated the award.

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