A jury has found guardrail manufacturer Trinity Industries guilty of making false statements about a modification that reportedly made guardrails more dangerous for motorists, and was ordered to pay $175 million in damages — an amount that under federal statute will triple — with as much as $200 million or more in additional fines. At issue were allegations that changes made to ET-Plus guardrail end terminals caused the devices to malfunction and lock up when struck by vehicles.
Free Guardrail Lawsuit Evaluation: If you or a loved one has been injured in a guardrail accident, you should contact our law firm immediately. You may be entitled to compensation by filing a suit against the manufacturer of the guardrail and we can help.
What’s the Problem?
October 20, 2014 – A Marshall, TX jury voted in favor of whistleblower Josh Harman, a competitor of Trinity Industries, who sued the company over fraudulent behavior. Harman alleged that Trinity failed to disclose information about a decade-old design modification made to its ET-Plus end terminals which caused guardrails to “lock up” and spear through cars, rather than ribboning out and absorbing impacts as designed.
According to an internal email obtained by ABC News, a Trinity Industries employee said that shrinking a metal piece in the end guardrail terminal from five inches to four would save the company $2 per piece, about $50,000 a year. The company also admitted to “inadvertently” omitting documentation that should have been turned over to the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) about the design change.
Harman alleged Trinity Industries sold states a guardrail that was different from the one they were supposed to be getting. His attorneys used the email as evidence, in addition to undisclosed crash test videos made by the company featuring a different guardrail configuration that reportedly showed the end piece failing. Trinity claimed the videos were for an experimental system that was never produced, therefore didn’t need to be turned over to the FHWA.
As a result of these problems, four U.S. states have suspended use of the modified guardrail system until further investigations can be completed. Trinity Industries currently faces more than a dozen personal injury and wrongful death lawsuits in which plaintiffs allege the company’s guardrail systems behaved defectively in car crashes.
ABC News Video: Trinity Guardrail Defects
Click on the link below to view an ABC News video reporting on a horrific guardrail accident involving the modified Trinity ET-Plus end terminals:
Following Verdict, FHWA Orders Trinity to Perform Additional Testing on ET-Plus Guardrails
In the wake of Monday’s verdict, FHWA sent a letter to Trinity Industries demanding that it conduct further safety testing on ET-Plus guardrail terminals it manufactured since at least 1999, a major reversal from the agencies’ steadfast support for the company. If Trinity refuses to perform the tests, FHWA officials say they might suspend the company’s ability to sell its guardrails to state highway departments.
Do I Have a Guardrail Lawsuit?
The Product Liability Litigation Group at our law firm is an experienced team of trial lawyers that focus on the representation of plaintiffs in Guardrail Lawsuits. We are handling individual litigation nationwide and currently accepting new guardrail injury and death cases in all 50 states.
Free Guardrail Lawsuit Evaluation: Again, if you or a loved one has been injured in a guardrail accident, you should contact our law firm immediately. You may be entitled to compensation by filing a Guardrail Suit and we can help.