Wednesday, August 13, 2008, 8/13/2008 09:44:00 AM

Another Public/Private Hybrid Trade Secrets Issue

By Todd
Duke Energy has been sued by a former employee who apparently claims that he was terminated for making an issue about the legality of payments made by Duke Energy to large customers. Duke Energy is now arguing that the legality or illegality of those payments is a matter for the Ohio Supreme Court to consider. Additionally, however, there is the issue of trade secrets contained in those agreements with the large customers. Duke Energy appears to be arguing that the rebates and pricing structure of certain customers' contracts are trade secrets - and we think that argument might be correct. Of course, the argument is going to drive the regular customer for electricity in the Cincinnati area nuts - that big corporate purchasers of energy get their supply cheaper than the little guy. They're going to try to argue that the public has a right to know these sweetheart deals made by publicly-granted monopolies. We'll see . . . .

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