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SALT LAKE CITY — The latest development in a lawsuit over a multimillion-dollar business leaves Utah State University out of the spotlight and puts more pressure on an Ogden entrepreneur.

The U.S. District Court excused USU from a lawsuit by Nevada company GeoMetWatch, leaving Alan Hall and his investment company Island Park, as the primary defendant, according to a new court filing.

With the university itself excused from the lawsuit, the defendants lose a party to help defend as well as direct support from the state, since USU is a public university. The school’s private firm, Advanced Weather Systems Foundation, is still named in the lawsuit as a defendant.

Attorney for GeoMetWatch Dickson Burton said they requested the dismissal of USU without prejudice. This does not bar the company from suing USU in the future. 

In 2008, GeoMetWatch teamed up with USU and its private research company to develop a new type of weather satellite that is more accurate at predicting imminent weather changes, nicknamed STORM.

The lawsuit alleges that Hall, an investor in the project, and USU used GeoMetWatch’s trade secrets to form a new company and effectively forced GeoMetWatch out of the STORM project.

Hall allegedly had access to confidential information that would do “irreparable” harm to GeoMetWatch if it fell into competitors’ hands, the lawsuit says. 

The company alleges that Hall and the university broke non-disclosure agreements by using their business model, industry contacts and other information to one-up them and steal away an important contract for the company.

According to the lawsuit, shortly after Hall formed a new company in Ogden called Tempus Global Data Inc., USU canceled the deal with GeoMetWatch and formed a new partnership with Hall’s company.

Hall and USU fired back that GeoMetWatch failed to meet financial deadlines and they have denied any wrongdoing in regard to stealing “trade secrets.”

Hall told the Standard-Examiner in May that these types of lawsuits happen all the time in business. USU has called the lawsuit baseless and the allegations “ludicrous.”

Burton said the case will continue and that they have partnered with Salt Lake City attorneys James Magleby and Peggy Tomsic, known for experience in similar lawsuits. They are also known for the involvement in the lawsuit and repeal of Utah’s same-sex marriage ban.

Hall is the founder of Marketstar Corp., a multibillion-dollar in sales global marketing company that has clients such as Intel, Verizon, Hewlett Packard, Sony and Cisco. He is chairman for Weber State University’s board of trustees and a member of the Standard-Examiner editorial board.

Contact reporter Andreas Rivera at 801-625-4227 or arivera@standard.net. Follow him on Twitter at @SE_Andreas.

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