Fast ferry engine lawsuit refloated in state court

The state’s lawsuit against builders of the fast ferries’ engines is underway again.

The case was unexpectedly moved out of state Superior Court to federal bankruptcy court back in March. Defendants MTU Friedrichshafen and MTU Detroit Diesel, the German builders of the engines and the American company that maintained them, called for the case to be moved. But it was the builders of the ferries, Derecktor Shipyard of Connecticut, that actually filed for bankruptcy protection in January.

Attorneys for the state and the ferry system allege that the engines for the Fairweather and Chenega are defective. They were worried that MTU’s motion was simply a delaying tactic by the engine builders to put the case on indefinite hold. But during a hearing last week, state Superior Court Judge Philip Pallenberg said the case had been remanded back to him.

Derecktor is not currently part of the lawsuit. But state attorney Dana Burke says that could change in July if a New York bankruptcy court issues a ruling on whether some lawsuits can proceed against the company.

Attorneys also discussed MTU Detroit Diesel’s corporate name change to Tognum America. Both sides said they didn’t think that it would have any significant impact on the case.

A trial had been planned for September. It’s now scheduled to start in early April of 2013 and last at least three weeks.

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