LOS ANGELES (CN) – Two newspapers published stories that wrongfully revealed trade secrets about a moth pheromone after an EPA employee illegally gave them the information, Suterra claims in Superior Court. It demands punitive damages and injunctions against the Santa Cruz Sentinel and Milestone Communications, which publishes the Monterey County Weekly. Suterra’s environmentally safe “CheckMate OLR-F” pesticide uses pheromones to check reproduction of the light brown apple moth, which infested 11 California counties in September, threatening 250 plant species.
Sentinel reporter Tom Ragan wrote a page-1 story on Sept. 28 revealing Suterra’s trade secrets after the state began spraying CheckMate, Suterra says. It says the Sentinel agreed to take down the story from its Web site when it protested the revelation of trade secrets. Then the Milestone paper published a story based on the Sentinel report, and refused to take it off the Web; then the Sentinel published another story on it and also refused to unpost it, Suterra claims. It says EPA employee Dale Kemery admitted leaking the information illegally. Suterra is represented by Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld.1