A Mississippi judge has issued a scathing, 123-page ruling citing new evidence that Eaton Corporation and its lawyers knew more than they have admitted about attempts to influence a previous judge, and that they tried to cover up the evidence. (A copy of the ruling from Hinds County Circuit Court Judge Jeff Weill Sr. can be found here.) “It’s hard to imagine a stronger condemnation of a company’s conduct,” said J. Clifton Johnson II, of the Jackson law firm Pigott & Johnson, who represents the defendants in the case. “Frankly, it’s stunning.” Johnson has not seen the new evidence yet, but says he can hardly wait. For the first time, the ruling seriously implicates Eaton general counsel Mark McGuire. It cites a 2007 email to McGuire that implies McGuire knew that the company was using a former veteran prosecutor named Ed Peters to try and influence the judge. Judge Weill did not quote directly from the email. The email “evidences Eaton’s continued attempts to use Peters behind the scenes,” the order states. “Notably McGuire denied any knowledge of Peters’ actions in this case, but this email, and [one from a day earlier] clearly indicate otherwise.” Neither McGuire nor Cleveland, Ohio-based Eaton returned messages seeking comment. Weill’s ruling came late Wednesday in Eaton’s $1 billion lawsuit against competitor Frisby Aerospace. The suit claimed that six Eaton engineers who worked at a plant in Jackson left the company to join Frisby and took trade secrets with them.
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