MARSHALL, TX – Trinity Industries Inc. (TRN), the manufacturer of highway guardrail systems, has lost a massive landmark whistle-blower lawsuit.
The guardrails on Michigan highways are meant to save lives. Not kill.
Michigan is one of 27 states that has suspended further installation of a controversial guardrail system used on roads around the country following what critics said was a cover-up of a dangerous change in the guardrail’s design made nearly a decade ago.
The whistle-blower lawsuit, brought by Joshua Harman on behalf of the U.S. government, alleged that Trinity made secret changes to its ET-Plus guard rail system. The lawsuit proved that just a 1 inch change in the production of those guard rails made every bit of difference.
That one inch change was never reported to the Federal Highway Safety Administration. Trinity Industries was found to have defrauded the government by making modifications in 2005 and failing to tell federal or state transportation officials at the time.
Victims have been killed or severely maimed by the guardrail systems. Victims and victims families have multiple lawsuits pending against Trinity Industries. At least 10 lawsuits have been filed against Trinity this year, claiming the device caused three deaths and nine injuries.
Trinity was ordered to pay some $175 million in damages – an amount that’s expected to triple by statutory mandate. Penalties could reach as high or beyond the $1 billion mark.
Along with damages being leveled against the company, it is possible that a complete recall of the guardrail systems may be initiated by the Federal Government.
Michigan State Representatives have been asked via email by MI Headlines what is being done about getting these guardrail systems off of our highways.
Information for this article is based on the video below from Nightline Investigates.