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Civil Procedure Keyed to Yeazell
Taylor v. Sturgell
Citation:553 U.S. 880 (2008)
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Taylor sued the FAA and the FEAC in the United States District Court for the District of Columbia, seeking to obtain the plans for a F-45 airplane’s engine via FOIA request. Less than a month prior to Taylor’s lawsuit, his friend, Greg Herrick, filed a similar suit in another district court, seeking the same information. In Herrick’s case, Herrick filed a FOIA request seeking copies of any technical documents about the F-45 contained in the FAA’s records. The FAA denied the request, stating that they would not release the information because it constituted FEAC’s trade secrets. When Herrick produced a letter written by FEA in 1955 that appeared to be a repudiation of trade secret protection on FEAC’s part, the FAA contacted the company, which exercised its trade secret protection. Herrick’s suit was then dismissed. In the current case, Taylor sued, represented by the same attorney, arguing, in addition to claims raised in Herrick’s suit, that FEAC was not able to now use trade secret protections when it appeared to dispense with them years prior. In this litigation, FEAC intervened and filed a motion to dismiss based on virtual representation. The district court agreed, granting summary judgment to the FAA and Fairchild on the grounds of claim preclusion. The United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit affirmed, finding that Taylor was “virtually represented” by Herrick. Taylor appealed.
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