When a suit against former employees goes more than a little off track

| William A. Schreiner, Jr.

This story from law.com starts with a truism: “Litigation and anger can be a dangerous mix.”  The story explains why: it’s about how Eaton Corporation , which makes devices that manage energy, has spent eight years suing six of its engineers. Along the way, according to the story, Eaton and its counsel engaged in discovery violations, incurred sanctions, and may have hired an outside counsel who engaged in ex-parte (one-side-only) communications with a judge hearing the case.  In addition to damaging its reputation, the casualty list includes two outside law firms that were terminated and two in-house lawyers who lost their jobs.   The saga continues for Eaton: while one part of its suit against the engineers is still active, the engineers (who have had criminal charges against them dismissed), still have a counterclaim against the company, and shareholders have filed a suit against the company’s directors and officers, alleging they “bungled the case."