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Texas court refuses appeals in crankshaft caseTexas court refuses appeals in crankshaft case

A legal battle between Lycoming and Texas-based Interstate Southwest came a step closer to completion—in Texas at least—after the Texas Supreme Court refused to hear two appeals, one from each side.

Lycoming sued Interstate five years ago after a series of crankshaft failures, saying the manufacturing at the Navasota, Texas, foundry was at fault. Interstate countersued, winning a $96 million judgment after convincing a jury that it was Lycoming’s design that was at fault. In particular, the design included the addition of vanadium to the alloy mix. That award was later reduced in a lower court to attorneys’ fees, which came to several million dollars.

The Texas Supreme Court has now refused to hear Interstate’s appeal to reinstate the $96 million award, and refused to hear Lycoming’s cross petition of two additional issues. Legal battles will continue in Texas over previously awarded attorneys’ fees, with Interstate hoping for a hearing in which to ask for $7 million. That battle could take the rest of 2008. The Texas Supreme Court basically tossed that issue into the air, asking the two parties to start anew on an agreement.

Waiting in the wings is another court action in Pennsylvania over the crankshaft failures. That case had been on hold awaiting a final judgment in Texas.

Attorneys for Interstate Southwest said the court’s action in Texas “...wiped out Lycoming’s $186 million counterclaim,” but an attorney for Lycoming said there never was a counterclaim. He suggested there might be confusion with claims now pending in Pennsylvania. A press release from Interstate further stated that Lycoming “lost,” when in fact neither party won as a result of the Texas Supreme Court action.

Alton Marsh

Alton K. Marsh

Freelance journalist
Alton K. Marsh is a former senior editor of AOPA Pilot and is now a freelance journalist specializing in aviation topics.

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