ORLANDO, Fla. – Lockheed Martin lawyers want to know if a former top Air Force official, recently sentenced to prison, played a role in the awarding of a space-launch services contract that Lockheed claims was tainted by the misuse of trade secrets by a competitor, The Boeing Co.
Lawyers for Lockheed Martin Corp. want to depose a Boeing representative about communications between Boeing and Darleen Druyun between January 1995 and October 2004 as part of Lockheed’s civil lawsuit accusing rival Boeing of racketeering and illegally acquiring trade secrets. Druyun was a former top acquisitions officer for the Air Force.
U.S. Magistrate Judge Karla Spaulding last week agreed to let Lockheed lawyers question a Boeing representative about communications with Druyun on six contract competitions, including the rocket launch contract known as the Evolved Expendable Launch Vehicle Program, or EELV.
“It may lead to admissible evidence about whether Boeing had improperly acquired proprietary information of Lockheed and others that it discussed with Druyun,” the magistrate judge wrote. Boeing lawyers objected to the magistrate judge’s order and a hearing was set for next month to resolve those objections.
Maryland-based Lockheed Martin sued Boeing last year in Orlando federal court, alleging the company and its employees broke racketeering and antitrust laws by soliciting, acquiring and using Lockheed Martin data to win a $1.88 billion Air Force rocket launch contract in 1998.
Three former Boeing officials, who also are named in the civil lawsuit in Orlando, have been charged with conspiracy and other charges in a separate federal investigation in Los Angeles.