Judge: Evergreen trade secret claims against Boeing stand

Updated 6/14/2010 7:34 AM

Although a federal judge in Seattle dismissed breach of contract claims brought against Boeing Co. by one of its suppliers, he left standing the trade-secret misappropriation claims.

Evergreen Holdings Inc.'s Evergreen International Airlines unit sued Boeing in federal court in Seattle in April. In the complaint the airline said its contract to ferry components of Boeing's 787 Dreamliner passenger jet was broken without cause in favor of Atlas Air Inc. of Purchase, New York.

Closely held Evergreen of McMinnville, Oregon, also claimed that the Chicago-based aerospace company impermissibly released confidential aircraft-performance information to Atlas.

Disclosure of this data would give valuable confidential information regarding Evergreen's fleet practices to Atlas, a competitor, according to court papers.

In a June 9 order, U.S. District Judge John C. Coughenour said that while Evergreen failed to state a claim for breach of contract, the company did adequately plead that Boeing had violated confidentiality provisions of its contract with Evergreen. The judge said that part of the suit can go forward.

Evergreen is represented by C. Dana Hobart and Mary H. Chu from Los Angeles-based Hennigan Bennett & Dorman LLP, and Allyssa Jayne Hale and Donald H. Mullins from Seattle's Badgley Mullins Law Group PLLC.

Chicago-based Boeing is represented by Cori Gordon Moore and Michael Haldon Himes of Seattle's Perkins Coie LLP, and John C. O'Quinn, Daniel Aaron Bress and Craig S. Primis of Chicago's Kirkland & Ellis LLP.

The case is Evergreen International Airlines Inc. v. Boeing Co., 2:10-cv-00568-JCC, U.S. District Court, Western District of Washington (Seattle).