Alison Grant with Plain Dealer reports on a major bombshell in Eaton v. Frisby. Former Eaton in-house lawyer Sharon O’Flahtery is suing Eaton for blaming its problems in the Mississippi lawsuit on O’Flaherty.

Excerpts from the article include:

Former Eaton in-house lawyer Sharon O’Flaherty, 57, of Concord Township in Lake County, says in the lawsuit that [Eaton CEO Alexander] Cutler, Eaton general counsel Mark McGuire and other lawyers made her take the fall for their missteps in a rancorous, nearly decade-long legal battle between Eaton and rival Frisby Aerospace….

In fact, the suit says, Eaton terminated O’Flaherty to defraud the court about why it failed to produce relevant emails, and because O’Flaherty, “unlike others in the Eaton legal department,” had preserved damaging evidence and tried to comply with the court’s order…..

Eaton, Cutler, McGuire, O’Flaherty’s former supervisor Vic Leo, outside law firm Latham & Watkins, as well as its New York managing partner, James Brandt, are named as defendants in the lawsuit.

Cutler, McGuire and several other lawyers met with James Brandt of Latham & Watkins, which was hired to help Eaton get to the bottom of the lapses. 

“Eaton, Cutler, McGuire and/or Brandt” had reason to suspect that Leo had intentionally removed two emails from the folder O’Flaherty gave him, her suit alleges. 

They also had knowledge that Leo specifically instructed the IT department not to have computer hard drives searched, her suit claims. 

“Cutler, McGuire and/or Brandt” decided at a May 15 meeting or earlier to fire O’Flaherty and Leo and to defraud the Mississippi court and Frisby by claiming the email mistake was due to inadvertence on O’Flaherty’s part, the suit says.

My Take:

In this post from last year giving my take on Judge Weill’s opinion, I stated:

Every time something else happens in this case I say to myself that Eaton has to make it go away now. But they never do. And it just keeps getting worse. 

Don’t think that it can’t get worse for Eaton here. It can. People on the Eaton side can start talking about who knew what.

And so they have. It’s hard to imagine a scenario where this case ends up working out for Eaton. Typically parties settle litigation when the case can’t get better, but can get worse. But that’s not how Eaton rolls.

If someone like 60 Minutes picks up this story it’s going to be hard for Cutler to survive as Eaton CEO.