Damaged airplane engine results in lawsuit

By Cara Bailey | Feb 16, 2007

MORGANTOWN - A Monongalia County man has filed a lawsuit against a transportation company after the airplane engine he was shipping was damaged while being sent to a customer.

Darus Zehrbach filed a suit Feb. 12 in Monongalia Circuit Court against Conway Central Express, CCX and Conway Transportation Services. Zehrbach is a manufacturer of special, custom-designed aircraft engines.

Conway transports freight and was contracted by Zehrbach to deliver an engine to Jeff Doddridge. The engine was valued at $65,000. Before shipping, the suit says Zehrbach asked for the engine to be insured.

The engine was packaged in a crate made of 2 X 4 steel welded beams bolted to 4-by-4 beams. The engine was additionally covered with two layers of heavy foam with a waterproof plastic over wrap, the suit says.

"The engine subsequently received by the customer in severely damaged form," the suit says. "It has been hit very, very hard or dropped a great distance."

The frame was bent, the $27,000 turbo/exhaust system was crushed, there was a tear in the steel and the starter mount was torn in the engine block, the suit says.

Zehrbach provided a claim to Conway for the damages, noting "the value of commodity damaged/lost was $65,000," the suit says.

Zehrbach hired a collection agency, but "after considerable delay and stalling, it became apparent that (Conway) was stalling and was negotiating in bad faith," the suit says.

The suit says the damage to Zehrbach's business cost the company in excess of $900,000. Therefore, he seeks compensatory damages for the engine, valued at $65,000, and punitive damages in the amount of $900,000.

Monongalia Circuit Court case number 07-C-86

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