U.S. District Judge Rodney Gilstrap has ordered Trinity Industries – a Dallas based firm which builds transportation products – to pay $683 million following charges that the company defrauded the U.S. government. Federal judge orders Trinity Industries to pay $663.4M in fraud case
In Oct. 2014 a federal jury rendered a $175 million verdict in the whistleblower case – the judge later tripled that verdict. Additionally, Trinity was recently fined more than $138 million as a result of the whistleblower complaint filed in Texas on March 6, 2012 by Joshua Harman, who will receive 30% of the government’s total recovery under the Qui Tam provisions of the False Claims Act.
Harman, a competitor of Trinity, alleged that Trinity sold the U.S. Government defective, modified highway guardrails. Guardrail Maker Trinity Industries Liable for Fraud in Texas
According to the complaint, “once a product is approved for use along the National Highway System its design specifications cannot be altered. If altered, the product must undergo additional testing and approval prior to placement on the National Highway System.” Modifications should be reported immediately to the governmental entity that has approved the original product. However, in this case, the government wasn’t notified for seven years. Trinity claims their failure to notify the government about the modifications was accidental.
The government will use some of the money recovered to replace Trinity’s defective guardrail systems throughout various states. Some states have gone so far as to ban purchases of the modified guardrails, which have pierced oncoming vehicles – causing serious injury or even death to the vehicle’s occupants. Trinity faces $525 million in damages after U.S. guardrail trial
Causing the government to pay for unapproved and/or defective products can be costly, and more importantly, jeopardize the safety of those who travel our nation’s highways. For more information on Whistleblower litigation, visit CaseyGerry Whistleblower Litigation.