Trinity Industries Inc. Guardrails Causing Injuries

An appeal by Trinity Industries Inc. has been denied by the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals in their effort to eliminate a lower court’s $175 million judgment in a False Claims Act suit made against the company for selling the U.S. Federal Highway Administration dangerous guardrails.

The original FCA complaint was filed in 2012, claiming that Trinity had falsely stated that its modified ET-Plus guardrail was adequately crash-tested. The first ET-Plus was created to absorb and dissipate the impact of a car by flattening the guardrail and pushing it out into a ribbon that is deflected away from the collision. This reduces the impact that passengers experience inside the vehicle.

The original design was approved by the FHWA in 2000, but statements have been made that the company changed the guardrail’s design at some point between 2002 and 2005. The issue with the new design is that it locks up, folds over and protrudes in the crashing vehicle. According to several reports, these changes were never disclosed to the FHWA. The new guardrails were also not tested according to the FHWA protocols.

The FHWA did partially approve the guardrails after a 2005 crash test, but it is not clear whether Trinity used the new ET-Plus for that particular test. This obviously further complicates the current situation.

If you believe you’ve been affected by defective guardrails in anyway, please feel free to reach out to Caputo and Mariotti today to schedule a free consultation.