Judge Upholds Lycoming Verdict

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A Texas judge has signed a $96 million jury award against Lycoming stemming from the failure of about two dozen crankshafts in higher-powered six-cylinder engines. Judge Jerry Sandel awarded the full amount of the jury's recommended award to Navasota-based Interstate Southwest, which made the crankshaft castings for those engines. The seven-week trial ended in mid-February. As AVweb told you in February, the jury found Lycoming had fraudulently blamed Interstate for incorrectly heat-treating the crankshaft blanks. The failures resulted in the recall and repair of more than 1,800 engines. But the jury found that the crankshafts were under-designed and that a decision by Lycoming to add Vanadium to the alloy mix weakened the crankshafts. Lycoming is, of course, not accepting the ruling. Scott Cowan, of Jones Day, the law firm representing Lycoming, said the firm will immediately try to get a new trial. Failing that, the decision will be appealed. "We believe that we will prevail," said Cowan. However, Interstate lawyer Marty Rose said the judge has reconfirmed the original ruling. "This judgment sends a clear signal that the original verdict was sound," Rose said in a statement. Rose also said the judgment should effectively prevent Lycoming from pursuing a $173 million indemnity claim against Interstate.