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Tech firm sues Nixon Peabody, Motorola as espionage trial begins

Former Motorola employees claim company and law firm conspired to falsify media statements

As the international espionage trial of former Motorola employee Hanjuan Jin begins, a technology firm founded by two former Motorola Inc. employees hit Motorola and Nixon Peabody, the law firm representing the mobile technology company, with a lawsuit.

Lemko Corp. claims in the lawsuit filed Monday that two lawyers from Nixon Peabody conspired to help the media, including local Chicago newspaper The Daily Herald, publish false statements. These statements would paint the Lemko executives, Nicholas Labun and Shaowei Pan, as connected to Jin’s criminal espionage case. Motorola and its senior corporate counsel Jeffrey Johnson are also listed as defendants.

The two Lemko executives are seeking damages of about $1 billion, which includes loss of business for Lemko. In the suit, they claim Motorola’s actions have “effectively destroyed [the company’s] ability to do business with the U.S. government, to raise capital, to obtain sales of new products, to create new revenue opportunities, to attract investors and to increase the value of Lemko itself.”

However, Motorola Solutions spokesman Nick Sweers called Lemko’s lawsuit “frivolous,” and said the company “intends to vigorously defend the case.”

“Lemko’s recent action is simply an attempt to rehash some of its same arguments in a different forum,” he said.

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