Cuneo Gilbert & LaDuca, LLP: DOJ Retreats on Defense of Pentagon-Sikorsky Case in Upcoming Trial
Cuneo Gilbert & LaDuca, LLP
October 30, 2017
WASHINGTON, Oct. 30, 2017/PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Stunning information revealed duringdepositions in a four year long Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) battle led the Department of Justice (DOJ) tolargely abandon defending the Department of Defense (DOD) against a lawsuitseeking information about Sikorsky Aircraft Corporation's (Sikorsky) smallbusiness subcontracts. A key assertion by Sikorsky that releasingmaterials it filed with DOD would reveal trade secrets is unsupportable, DOJapparently determined. Accordingly, DOJ notified the Court andco-defendant Sikorsky on October 12 that DODintends to release most of the requested information on November6. The December 11 trial has beenpostponed.
The American Small Business League (ASBL)initially sought Sikorsky's small business subcontracting plan in an August 2013 Freedom of Information Act filing. WhenDOD refused, Sonoma, CAbased ASBL filed suit in the U.S. District Court in SanFrancisco in 2014. In an early hearing, JudgeWilliam Alsup on November6, 2014 said: "The purpose of the Freedom ofInformation Act is so the public can see how our government works. Congresspassed this law to make small businesses have access to some of these projects,and here is the United States covering it up."
"We whole-heartedly agreed with Judge Alsup then and nowwelcome the unraveling of that cover-up," said LloydChapman, ASBL's president. "We believe the covered-upinformation will help expose the fact that the Pentagon and its largest primecontractors have used the Comprehensive Subcontract Plan TestProgram to cheat small business out of hundreds of billions in subcontractssince the program began in 1989."
"Some of the information we seek had actually been postedon government web sites and issued in press releases by Sikorsky,"explained Jonathan W. Cuneo, partner of Washington, DC-based Cuneo Gilbert & LaDuca, LLP, representingASBL. "The defendants hid behind a spurious trade secrets claim forfour years. Ironically, this case involves information with no nationalsecurity sensitivity about a single source, non-competitive Defense Departmentcontract."
Among facts undermining Sikorsky's trade secrets defense is an expert report by former FAA officialDavid Downey who said information about Sikorsky'ssubcontractors is "widely" available in the industry.