The Supreme Court of Texas denied an appeal by engine manufacturer Lycoming, effectively ending a six-year legal battle in favor of Navasota, Texas-based Interstate Southwest, Ltd., a metal forging and fabricating company that had manufactured crankshafts for Lycoming.
"This Supreme Court decision means Interstate Southwest wins and Lycoming loses - it´s as simple as that," attorney Marty Rose of Rose Walker in Dallas, in a news release Tuesday evening. Rose Walker represents Interstate Southwest. "A jury of 12 people looked at this and said that Lycoming was to blame. This decision affirms that."
After a series of crankshaft-related engine failures starting in 2003 forced a massive recall of Lycoming engines, the company asserted that the failures were the result of manufacturing mistakes by Interstate Southwest and demanded $ 183 million from the company to pay for the recalls. Interstate Southwest stated that it conformed precisely to Lycoming´s specs and made no manufacturing mistakes.
In preparation for a 2005 trial, Rose Walker bought Lycoming engines and performed its own tests - saying that in the process of doing this, the law firm became one of the world´s largest owners of Lycoming engines. The law firm said its metallurgists and engineers put the engines through "a sophisticated battery of tests more demanding than any Lycoming had ever conducted."
A Grimes County, Texas jury found that the sole cause of the numerous crankshaft failures was a defect in Lycoming´s design. Further, the jurors said Lycoming had defrauded Interstate Southwest when it wrongly accused the company of improper forging techniques. The jury awarded Interstate Southwest over million in damages, which an appeals court later reduced to cover attorneys´ fees only, but left in place a finding that wiped out Lycoming´s 6 million counterclaim.
According to Rose, "Today´s (Supreme Court) ruling affirms that our client made no mistakes in manufacturing engine crankshafts for Lycoming engines that later failed. The appellate court also upheld the trial court´s judgment that Lycoming´s own design defect was the sole cause of the crankshaft failures and that Lycoming could not seek indemnity from Interstate Southwest for any other crankshaft failures."