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Hinds Judge Weill orders Eaton to produce all Peters/DeLaughter documents

May 11th, 2012 No comments

The litigation involving Jackson-based Eaton Aerospace and a competitor the company sued for allegedly stealing trade secrets got even more interesting Thursday.

First, a little background: Several years ago, Eaton sued North Carolina-based Frisby Aerospace, claiming some of Eaton’s trade secrets had been acquired via  former employees who had taken jobs at Frisby.

In early 2011, former Hinds County Circuit Judge Swan Yerger dismissed the case, ruling that Eaton had hired former Hinds County DA Ed Peters to improperly influence then-Hinds County Circuit Judge Bobby DeLaughter, who at one time presided over the case. Peters and DeLaughter were also caught up in the Scruggs judicial bribery scandal. Peters received immunity from prosecutors in the Scruggs investigation. DeLaughter did not, and served 18 months in federal prison after pleading guilty to obstruction of justice. He was released in April 2011.

After DeLaughter left the circuit bench, Yerger presided over the case until his retirement in 2011. Current Hinds Circuit Judge Jeff Weill has presided ever since.

An order Weill issued Thursday found that documents Eaton produced last month should have been produced in 2008. Weill also ordered Eaton to produce, within seven days, basically every document Eaton has that is related to the Peters/DeLaughter matter.

Weill also ordered a number of Eaton employees – including CEO Alexander Cutler – and the company’s in-house and outside counsel to provide sworn affidavits that outline why the documents produced last month were previously withheld, and to explain why any documents produced as the result of the order were withheld.

The entire seven-page order can be read here.