Judge Enters $96 Million Judgment Against Textron Lycoming, According to Rose Walker

Mar 29, 2005, 00:00 ET from Rose Walker

    ANDERSON, Texas, March 29 /PRNewswire/ -- The following was issued today
 by Rose Walker:
     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