Why This Machining Company is Suing its Only Customer

Bell Helicopter Textron has been the sole customer of Houston-based Textool for 70 years, and now they're headed to court.

Sometimes the longer and more exclusive the relationship, the nastier the breakup.

Textool Company, a Houston-based manufacturing company, has filed a lawsuit against Bell Helicopter Textron, asking to be set free from a binding agreement between the two companies.

According to an email sent to IEN by a representative for Textool this lawsuit is a “last resort.” You see, Bell has been the sole customer of Textool for nearly 70 years, and the family-owned business was contracted to manufacture helicopter masts, the critical and flight safety part that connects the engine of the helicopter to the blades, making the entire blade assembly rotate.

According to Textool, while Bell supplied them with the raw materials, Textool routinely conducted quality tests per Bell’s specifications during the manufacturing process. Dating back to 2015, Textool has allegedly found multiple instances where the materials were flawed or defective and subsequently reported each occurrence to Bell, which in turn requested that suspect parts be submitted for review.

Since then, Textool says Bell has refused to provide any further direction as to whether manufacturing should stop or proceed, meaning – as an exclusive supplier – Textool is basically twiddling their thumbs, and is now considering permanently closing the doors to its 25,000 square foot, state-of-the-art manufacturing facility.

This leaves Textool pursuing a declaration from the Court that closing its doors does not leave it responsible for any unproduced products. Additionally, the company asks that Bell terminate its contracts, and pay outstanding invoices in excess of $1 million.

Michael Van Dorfy, Jr., Director of Textool, said that with Bell refusing to respond or take action, the company is essentially forcing Textool out of business, and that they had no other reasonable option than to file suit.

If you were looking for any more reasons to diversify, this case might just tip the scales.

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