ANDERSON, Texas, March 29 2005 – LAWFUEL – The Law News Network — State District Judge Jerry Sandel of the 278th Judicial District Court in
Anderson, Texas, has signed a $96 million judgment against airplane engine
manufacturer Textron Lycoming (NYSE: TXT). The judgment results from a legal
battle involving a number of small airplane engine failures that occurred when
the airplanes’ crankshafts broke in flight.
The judgment, entered today, totals $96,039,498.33 and includes
$86,394,763.00 in punitive damages as well as awards for future attorneys’
fees and interest. In February, a jury in Grimes County, Texas found Lycoming
liable for fraud, ordered the company to pay actual and punitive damages to
Navasota, Texas-based Interstate Southwest Ltd. and also found that the
crankshaft failures in question resulted solely from Lycoming’s defective
That verdict came following a seven week-long trial. In addition, the
verdict effectively precluded Lycoming from pursuing a $173 million indemnity
claim against Interstate, which it had previously filed in a Pennsylvania
“This judgment sends a clear signal that the original verdict was sound,”
says Marty Rose, who represents Interstate Southwest. “Our client has been
vindicated. Between the judgment and its impact on the indemnity claim — we
couldn’t have hoped for a better result.”
Between 2000 and 2002, there were 24 small airplane engine failures and
12 deaths in Cessnas, Pipers and other airplanes with Lycoming aircraft
engines. Interstate Southwest supplied Lycoming with the crankshaft forgings
for those engines.
Following those failures, Lycoming launched an investigation aimed at
determining the cause. Its conclusion was that Interstate Southwest had
overheated the forgings, weakening the steel.
But attorneys for Interstate, Mr. Rose and Hal Walker of Rose Walker in
Dallas, found a different cause. Their experts were able to determine that
Lycoming’s design for the crankshafts, which dates back to smaller, lower
horsepower engines from 40 years ago, was inadequate for the larger, higher
horsepower engines that failed.
They also found that by adding Vanadium to the steel — something Lycoming
decided to do just before the failures began — the company further limited
the amount of stress the crankshafts could withstand. Lycoming had added
Vanadium to make the steel harder and reduce the number of machining
operations, ultimately saving the company money.
Ultimately, jurors agreed with lawyers for Interstate, and found that even
Lycoming’s investigation of the crankshaft failures was fraudulent.
“The combination of poor design and Vanadium pushed these crankshafts
beyond their limits,” says Hal Walker. “That’s why these planes crashed, and
not, as Lycoming claimed, because Interstate overheated the forgings.”
Along with Mr. Rose and Mr. Walker, Interstate Southwest was represented
by Leane Capps Medford, Kristina Kennedy, Bruce McKissock and Bryan Cantrell.
Rose Walker is a Dallas law firm that provides trial services for business
For more information, contact Mike Androvett at 800-559-4534 or
SOURCE Rose Walker