Here are some of the orders and pleadings from the Eaton v. Frisby litigation. I don’t currently have time to write about all of them, but they are interesting.

Jackson lawyer David Dogan was the special master. The special master report sets out in detail Eaton’s hiring of Ed Peters and Peters’ ex parte communications with Judge DeLaughter. The special master notes:

"There is an obvious contradiction in Eaton’s hiring of Peters. Peters was hired because of his close relationship with DeLaughter, but it was agreed that Peters would not make an appearance. How could Peters influence DeLaughter if he did not make an appearance? The logical inference is that Leo and Schaalman hired Peters with the expectation that Peters would engage in ex parte communications with DeLaughter." [emphasis added]. (special master report at p. 29).

According to the Government’s 404(b) response, Peters was going to testify in DeLaughter’s criminal case that Eaton hired him to influence DeLaughter behind the scenes.  

The special master’s report answers the two questions I posed for Eaton in this 2009 post. The questions and the now-publicly known answers were:

  1. exactly who told you that you should hire Ed Peters?  [it was Jackson lawyer Mike Allred].
  2. what was the reason(s) you were given for why you should hire Peters?   [because Peters could influence DeLaughter because they were close personally].

Remember this 2009 quote by Eaton spokesperson Don McGrath?

Don McGrath, spokesman for Eaton Corp., said that if the Peters 1-3 documents are released they will demonstrate the communication was innocent. “Eaton did not know Ed Peters was providing this correspondence with the court,” McGrath said. “We didn’t have him to do anything improper.”

The special master’s report notes that Eaton’s outside lawyer Michael Schaalman of the Quarles & Brady firm in Milwaukee was extra careful to make sure that opposing counsel was not tipped off to Eaton hiring Peters. (see special master report at p. 26).

The special master’s report also explains that Eaton’s general counsel Mark McGuire knew about Peter’s role in the case. In addition, the report notes that Eaton in-house lawyer Vic Leo promised Peters at least a 1% contingency fee in the case. The exact amount of Peter’s contingency depended on whether Peters delivered results with DeLaughter. (special master report p. 23-24).

Eaton claimed that the value of its claim against Frisby was in the neighborhood of $1 billion dollars. If Eaton won, it was committed to paying Ed Peters a multi-million dollar contingency fee for influencing his good buddy Bobby DeLaughter with the opposing side never knowing it. 

But I’m sure that Leo and the others within Eaton who knew about this scheme never thought for a second that any of that money might find it’s way to Judge DeLaughter. Right?