Blackwater 'trade secrets' lawsuit settled out of court
Virginian Pilot (2007-08-30) Bill Sizemore
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By Bill Sizemore
, The Virginian Pilot
© August 30, 2007 | Last updated 6:13 PM Aug. 30
A long-running lawsuit in which Blackwater USA accused a former employee of stealing trade secrets has ended with a whimper.
The case, which featured a late-night police raid and allegations of false imprisonment, has been settled out of court. The terms are confidential. Each side must pay its own attorney fees and costs.
Meanwhile, "in the interest of judicial economy," a related criminal case has been closed with no charges having been filed, Maj. Jon Worthington said Thursday. Latest Videos
Worthington was the lead investigator in the case for the Camden County Sheriff's Department. He also works part-time as an instructor for Blackwater, the Moyock, N.C.-based private military company.
"They've already, in civil court, got a remedy so there was no need to go and retry it in criminal court," he said.
It was Worthington who supervised a forced-entry raid in February 2006 on the Virginia Beach home of Curtis Smith, who worked for Blackwater as a cost analyst. The raid, which yielded a computer, related equipment and papers, was carried out under a search warrant issued on suspicion of computer fraud and computer trespass, which are criminal offenses.
Blackwater fired Smith and sued him in Camden County Superior Court, accusing him of giving confidential pricing models to Covenant Special Projects, a Northern Virginia-based security firm for which he later went to work. The case was eventually moved to federal court.
The day he was fired, Smith signed an affidavit admitting guilt. He later countersued Blackwater and its executive vice president, William Mathews, alleging that the affidavit was extracted under duress.
In court papers, Smith said he was confined in a conference room against his will, menaced by Mathews and two other former Navy SEALs and not allowed to leave until he signed the incriminating statement.
Blackwater denied the allegations.
Reach Bill Sizemore at (757) 446-2276 or firstname.lastname@example.org