Federal judge orders documents to remain under seal in DynCorp case against AAR Airlift

By Karen Kidd | Jul 11, 2018

Litigation between a Virginia-based global government services provider against the Melbourne company it alleges stole trade secrets to land a multi-billion dollar contract in 2015 has been settled, but documents in the case will remain under seal, according to a federal judge's recent order in the case.

ORLANDO — Litigation between a Virginia-based global government services provider against the Melbourne company it alleges stole trade secrets to land a multi-billion dollar contract in 2015 has been settled, but documents in the case will remain under seal, according to a federal judge's recent order in the case.

U.S. District Court Judge Gregory A. Presnell, on the bench in Florida's Middle District, Orlando Division, granted part of a stipulation and joint motion for voluntary dismissal with prejudice filed by plaintiff DynCorp International, based in McLean, Virginia, and defendant AAR Airlift Group. Presnell dismissed the case with prejudice, with each party bearing its own costs and fees, and all pending motions are withdrawn, but denied a joint request for a return of material.

"Accordingly, the court will maintain the material under seal for one year," Presnell said in his three-page order issued June 26. "In the event that a third party seeks to have the material unsealed, the Court will allow any affected party to argue in favor of maintaining the seal."

Documents sealed in the case will remain under seal for one year from the date of the order.


U.S. District Court Judge Gregory A. Presnell  

DynCorp filed its original 25-page complaint in September 2015 in which it accused AAR Airlift of stealing trade secrets to land a $10 billion, 11-and-a-half-year contract with the U.S. State Department. The case has since been extensively litigated.

After a failed attempt at settlement earlier in the year, DynCorp and AAR Airlift, two days before a scheduled June 22 hearing, filed a joint stipulation and motion for voluntary dismissal with prejudice. 

"In the Joint Motion, the parties announced that they had resolved all of their differences," Presnell said in his order. "They withdrew their pending motions and, pursuant to Rule 41, dismissed with prejudice all of their claims and defenses, with each side to bear its own fees and costs."

The joint motion included a request that all material in the case currently under seal be returned so it could be destroyed. 

"The parties did not provide any legal authority for evading the common law right of access to judicial proceedings in this fashion," Presnell said in his order. "At the hearing, after the Court informed the parties it was not inclined to grant their request, counsel for DynCorp argued that the material at issue, which revealed the content of settlement negotiations, should be treated as confidential. While the Court does not disagree, this is an argument in favor of keeping the material under seal, not for destroying it."

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