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Federal judge dismisses whistleblower suit against Rolls-Royce

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A federal judge in Indianapolis has dismissed a whistleblower lawsuit filed by a former Rolls-Royce Corp. engineer who accused the company of selling faulty aircraft engine parts to the government.

Judge Sarah Evans Barker on Monday sided with London-based Rolls-Royce, which employs about 4,500 people in Indianapolis, on its motion to dismiss the case.

Curtis Lusby, who worked as a senior project engineer at the Indianapolis Rolls-Royce aircraft engine plant until 2001, accused the company of violating the False Claims Act by selling parts to the government that it knew did not regularly meet contractual specifications and requirements.

The parts were used in the T56 turboprop engine developed in the 1950s, one of the longest-serving engines in the military’s fleet.

Barker said in her ruling that Lusby failed to prove the accusations because he provided no evidence that Rolls-Royce ever sold a defective part to the government.

“At this late stage in this litigation, mere assumptions and speculation are insufficient to carry the day,” Barker wrote. “In the oft-used phrase, summary judgment is the ‘put up or shut up’ moment in a lawsuit.”

Lusby instead argued that Rolls-Royce should bear the burden of proof that it had not violated the law because it was responsible for the flaws.

But Barker said Lusby was unable to provide previous cases to support his argument.

In a prepared statement, Rolls-Royce said it is pleased with the ruling, which confirms that Lusby’s claims had no merit.

The case had been winding its way through the federal court system for years. Lusby first sued Rolls-Royce in May 2003. After two of his lawyers withdrew from the case at different times, he filed amended complaints in 2006 and 2007.

U.S. District Court in Indianapolis dismissed his complaint. But the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals in June 2009 reversed part of the judgment, returning it to the federal court in Indianapolis.

Rolls-Royce still faces a similar lawsuit in the same court filed by a former safety official charging that the company concealed repeated defects at the aircraft engine plant.

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  1. What a fine article, thank you! I can testify firsthand and by detailed legal reports (at end of this note) as to the dire consequences of rejecting this truth from the fine article above: "The inclusion and expansion of this right [to jury] in Indiana’s Constitution is a clear reflection of our state’s intention to emphasize the importance of every Hoosier’s right to make their case in front of a jury of their peers." Over $20? Every Hoosier? Well then how about when your very vocation is on the line? How about instead of a jury of peers, one faces a bevy of political appointees, mini-czars, who care less about due process of the law than the real czars did? Instead of trial by jury, trial by ideological ordeal run by Orwellian agents? Well that is built into more than a few administrative law committees of the Ind S.Ct., and it is now being weaponized, as is revealed in articles posted at this ezine, to root out post moderns heresies like refusal to stand and pledge allegiance to all things politically correct. My career was burned at the stake for not so saluting, but I think I was just one of the early logs. Due, at least in part, to the removal of the jury from bar admission and bar discipline cases, many more fires will soon be lit. Perhaps one awaits you, dear heretic? Oh, at that Ind. article 12 plank about a remedy at law for every damage done ... ah, well, the founders evidently meant only for those damages done not by the government itself, rabid statists that they were. (Yes, that was sarcasm.) My written reports available here: Denied petition for cert (this time around): http://tinyurl.com/zdmawmw Denied petition for cert (from the 2009 denial and five year banishment): http://tinyurl.com/zcypybh Related, not written by me: Amicus brief: http://tinyurl.com/hvh7qgp

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  3. While this right is guaranteed by our Constitution, it has in recent years been hampered by insurance companies, i.e.; the practice of the plaintiff's own insurance company intervening in an action and filing a lien against any proceeds paid to their insured. In essence, causing an additional financial hurdle for a plaintiff to overcome at trial in terms of overall award. In a very real sense an injured party in exercise of their right to trial by jury may be the only party in a cause that would end up with zero compensation.

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