Last week, a federal judge in Texas ordered Trinity Industries to pay $663.4 million in a whistleblower case involving defective guardrails manufactured by the Dallas-based company. The lawsuit – filed under the False Claims Act in 2012 – also resulted in a substantial whistleblower award.
Here are some details about the case:
- The case involves defective guardrails – known as ET-Plus guardrails – that contain a dangerous defect which can cause them to lock up and penetrate vehicle cabins rather than absorbing the force of a crash and giving away. ET-Plus guardrail systems have been linked to a number of injuries and deaths.
- According to the lawsuit, Trinity Industries made a modification to its guardrails without disclosing the modifications to the federal government. It was also alleged that Trinity did not adequately test the modified guardrail system.
- The $663.4 million judgment triples a $175 judgment handed down last year against Trinity Industries and tacks on another $138 million in civil penalties for defrauding the U.S. government.
- The whistleblower responsible for bringing the claim in 2012 will receive 30% of the judgment – or $199 million.
Although Trinity has announced its intention to appeal the decision, the judgment marks a significant victory for the many victims and families who have product liability claims pending against the company. With the decision, their chances of securing full and fair compensation for their losses substantially increase.
Fibich, Leebron, Copeland & Briggs is actively reviewing cases of individuals and families who suffered harm and losses as a result of defective ET-Plus guardrails. If you have questions about your case and how our team can help you, contact us for a FREE case review.