San Francisco, California Plaintiffs and pilots Malvern J. Gross, Jr. and Paul Jimison succeeded today in obtaining preliminary approval of a settlement in Gross, et al. v. Mobil Corporation, et al., Civil Action No. C 95-1237 SC, pending in the United States District Court for the Northern District of California. The mandatory nationwide class action was certified by the Court, and by agreement of the parties to include all owners of Teledyne Continental 550, 520, 470 and 360 series engines who used Mobil AV-1 engine oil for at least 150 hours.
The Settlement Agreement was reached after months of extensive negotiations between plaintiffs' Class Counsel, Lieff, Cabraser, Heiman & Bernstein and Harry Lehmann of Lehmann & Chase, and counsel for Mobil, Latham & Watkins and Mendes & Mount. The Settlement provides for a detailed engine inspection and repair program, as well as compensation for "clown-time."
The case involves an aircraft engine oil, "AV-1" designed, manufactured and marketed by Mobil between approximately 1987 and June, 1994, which plaintiffs alleged creates a continuing risk of damage to certain aircraft engines, including risk of in-flight engine failure.
"This case has always been about pilot safety," said Lieff, Cabraser, Heimann & Bernstein partner Michael F. Ram. "Under this settlement, pilots will be made aware of the potential risks resulting from past AV-1 use. Next, they will be given the opportunity to have their engines inspected and repaired. Third, where damage has already been detected and addressed, they will be compensated."
Harry V. Lehmann, of Lehmann and Chase, one of the class counsel stated: "As both a pilot and a lawyer, my concern from the start has been public safety and this settlement provides for that concern; everybody gets to be well-informed about the status of their aircraft. The inspection and repair protocols were worked out through laborious consultation with highly qualified engineers. The safety goals have been met."
Class Representative Malvern Gross, President Emeritus of the National Aeronautic Association and a member of the Board of Directors of Experimental Aircraft Association (EAA), commented "Today's court approval by the Federal District Court of the inspection and repair program agreed to by Mobil is very important because the lawsuit was about only one issue safety of flight. There are many pilots who are not aware of the damage that use of Mobil AV-1 synthetic oil may have caused, and now they can have their engines examined and repaired if damage is found. I am very pleased." Class Representative, Califomia businmman and pilot, Paul Jimison stated: "I believe that anyone who has used Mobil AV-1 and believes they may have been harmed will find that this Settlement is very good. I found it hard to believe that a reasonable solution could be found in such a short period of time within our present legal system. I think that the safety factors involved were the prime moving force stimulating both parties to find a common ground."
Owners of aircraft effected by the AV-1 oil will be notified of the proposed settlement by mail and publication.