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
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.