Defense contractor sues company over part managed at Robins

wcrenshaw@macon.comMarch 7, 2013 

WARNER ROBINS -- A defense contractor is suing another company about a disputed part repaired at Robins Air Force Base and used in testing aerial surveillance radar.

New York-based Advanced Testing Technologies, with offices in Warner Robins, is suing the M&T Co. and its parent company, Pennsylvania-based CDI Corp., for more than $3 million.

The lawsuit, filed in federal court in Macon on Tuesday, alleges a former Advanced Testing Technologies employee who was fired went to work for M&T Co. and used protected trade secrets to repair the component. The repair work was done at Robins.

The lawsuit states the component, a phase noise measurement module, is used in testing Boeing E-3 Sentry Radar, which is part of the Airborne Warning and Control System. The system provides aerial combat surveillance.

According to the lawsuit, the Air Force contracted with Advanced Testing Technologies, the original manufacturer of the disputed part, to produce 10 new replacement parts for at least $3 million.

The component is part of the Benchtop Reconfigurable Automatic Tester, which is managed at Robins.

The lawsuit states Advanced Testing Technologies built three of the new replacement parts, and then the Air Force canceled the remaining seven because it said it could repair the older modules.

Advanced Testing Technologies alleges its former vice president of engineering, Robert Buckley, was fired and then sued the company. As a part of a settlement, the lawsuit states, Buckley agreed not to use any trade secrets from his employment with Advanced Testing Technologies.

However, the lawsuit alleges after going to work for M&T Co., Buckley began repairing the disputed part at Robins. As a result, the lawsuit states, the Air Force canceled the remaining contract with Advanced Testing Technologies.

The lawsuit also alleges the repaired parts do not meet mandatory specifications, which is the reason why the parts were to be replaced rather than repaired in the first place.

The lawsuit states Buckley could only have repaired the parts by using documents and trade secrets from his employment with Advanced Testing Technologies.

The lawsuit asks for a judgement of at least $3 million, plus attorneys fees and punitive damages. It also asks for a trial by jury.

Attorneys for Advanced Testing Technologies did not return phone calls for comment.

A phone call to M&T Co. was not returned.

To contact writer Wayne Crenshaw, call 256-9725.

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