A Texas federal jury found last month that Trinity Industries Inc. defrauded the U.S. government out of $175 million by selling dangerous guardrails to the U.S. Federal Highway Administration (FHWA). The jury found in favor of relator Joshua Harman in the case based on violations of the False Claims Act case. He had accused Trinity of making dangerous alterations to its guardrails after a previous design without the alterations was approved by the FHWA. It was claimed that Trinity misrepresented the modified ET-Plus as the same as the approved version when it is actually more dangerous. The jury awarded $175 million, which after trebling amounts to damages of $525 million. Statutory penalties can also be awarded.
Trinity has said that it will stop shipping its ET-Plus guardrail system. According to Trinity, the highway administration has requested additional crash testing of the guardrail system. It was alleged in the complaint that the system had failed numerous times, killing or injuring drivers. At least one state, Virginia, has returned guardrails to Trinity.
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