ATLANTA -- The U.S. Court of Appeals for the 11th Circuit has reinstated DynCorp International’s claims against AAR Airlift Group Inc.
According to the court's November ruling, “After careful review of the record and the parties’ briefs, we reverse the dismissal order and remand for further proceedings.”
The court decided its ruling under the Florida Uniform Trade Secret Act. Under Florida law, misappropriation refers to the attainment of trade secrets by someone who know the information was acquired illegally—theft, bribery, misrepresentation, or breach of secrecy.
“AAR strongly disagrees with the appellate court’s decision in November, which was based on a technical matter and not the merits in the case,” Kathleen Cantillon, vice president of strategic communications at AAR Corporation, told the Florida Record. “AAR remains confident that we will prevail again with the district court.”
According to Nolo.com, under Florida law, a trade secret thief can be prevented from disclosure by court order – an injunction. This goes for actual or threatened misappropriation. A victim of trade secret theft can seek a financial reward that equals the actual loss accredited to the theft or the profits acquired by the trade secret thief.
Allegedly, trade secrets were obtained by AAR, which was competing for the U.S. State Department's Worldwide Aviation Support Services, which has been in contract with DynCorp since 1992.
According to Cantillon, AAR has recently won the battle for WASS.
“On Dec. 20, AAR learned that the U.S. Government Accountability Office denied DynCorp’s protest of the contract award to AAR Airlift for the U.S. Department of State’s Worldwide Aviation Support Services,” she said.
Under the program, AAR Airlift, a subsidiary of AAR, will provide maintenance, operations and support for the State Department's International Narcotics and Law Enforcement Office of Aviation.
Earlier this year, the U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Florida initially dismissed DynCorp’s suit—alleging that three former DynCorp employees shared trade secrets after they went to work for AAR. It alleges the former employees wanted to help their new employer develop a proposal for the WASS competition.
The court decided to overrule that decision and reverse the district court’s dismissal of the amended complaint.
“AAR is proud to have been awarded the WASS contract by the U.S. State Department,” Cantillon said. “AAR will continue to fight and win every frivolous, desperate lawsuit brought by DynCorp, a financially troubled company struggling with fiscal and operational problems.”
According to BusinessWire, this matter remains under a separate investigation by the Department of State Office of the Inspector General, which is looking into alleged Integrity Act Violations by AAR related to this program.
The case is to resume in court in the new year.