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Dallas-Based Company Plans to Appeal
A federal judge ordered Trinity Industries to pay $664.4 million in damages and fines and an additional $20 million in attorneys’ fees in a whistleblower lawsuit brought by the company’s competitor. The judgment amount includes $525 million in damages and another $138.4 million in fines.
The Dallas-based corporation continues to deny it defrauded the government and the American public when it altered its guardrail design to save money and then covered up their actions. As a result, numerous people died and were injured. Trinity Industries plans to appeal the judgment.
The High Costs of Saving a Few Bucks
At the root of the case is a $2.00 inch of steel. Trinity Industries began installing guardrails on highways across the country in 1999. State and federal agencies bought the guardrails based upon the results of extensive testing. But then in 2005, the company determined it could save money by cutting one inch of steel from each unit. This new design turned the guardrails into deadly weapons. The newly-designed guardrail acted as a spear, piercing a vehicle that ran into it.
Sadly, Trinity’s small savings cost the victims and their families so much more. Even as people died or were severely injured, Trinity Industries remained silent. If human life was not enough to convince a corporation to do the right thing, hopefully these types of high money damages will be.
Had Trinity Not Sued its Competitor, Fraud May Never Have Been Uncovered
The fraud might never have been discovered had Trinity not sued its competitor for patent infringement. While preparing his defense, Joshua Harman discovered the changes in the guardrail design. He also noted that the company did not notify the Federal Highway Administration (FHA) of the design alterations as is required. Mr. Harman immediately reported the issue to the FHA. In an attempt to silence him, Trinity applied the bullying tactic of suing Mr. Harman for defamation. But, on Tuesday, justice won.
Berenson Law Holds Greedy Corporations Responsible for Their Actions
Tuesday’s decision is an extraordinary win against corporate fraud. We hope that this is the start of truly holding transportation manufacturers responsible for their negligent actions.
If you were injured or you lost your loved one because of a defective guardrail, call our Dallas-Fort Worth auto accident law firm at 817-885-8000 or toll-free at 1-888-801-8585 to schedule a free consultation.