COLORADO SPRINGS, Colorado, April 18 A small
Alabama aircraft maintenance company will try to convince a
federal judge on May 23 to allow its lawsuit against its former
business partner, Boeing Co, to proceed.
Alabama Aircraft Industries filed a wide-ranging lawsuit
last September in which it argued that Boeing stole proprietary
data from the smaller firm, helping it win $1.3 billion in Air
Force contracts to maintain its KC-135 refueling planes.
Alabama Aircraft, which had been responsible for the
maintenance of the planes for several decades, argues that those
events resulted in hundreds of lost jobs and helped push it into
Boeing has filed a motion to dismiss the suit, arguing that
the substance of the case has already been decided in a series
of earlier lawsuits.
Judge David Proctor on Wednesday told the parties to come to
the Birmingham, Alabama, courthouse on May 23 to make their
arguments and agree on a schedule for discovery and milestone
events in the case.
Joe Ryan, a trustee appointed by the company that bought
Alabama's assets out of bankruptcy, said the hearing date marked
a step forward for what he described as "David versus Goliath"
case. The suit seeks at least $100 million in damages.
Boeing declined to comment since the litigation is ongoing.
The company rejected the lawsuit's validity in its motion to
dismiss and said that even if Alabama Aircraft won the suit, it
could recover no more than compensatory damages.
The lawsuit draws a connection between the KC-135
maintenance contract and a major procurement scandal that sent
the former No. 2 Air Force acquisition official, Darleen Druyun,
and the former chief financial officer of Boeing to federal
prison in the mid-2000s.