Judge rules guardrail maker must pay $663M over secret design change

Judge rules guardrail maker must pay $663M over secret design change

RICHMOND, VA (WWBT) - There have been recent incidents of guardrails maiming, impaling, and even killing drivers across the country.

And the company that made them? On Tuesday, a Texas judge made his final judgment, tripling a jury's verdict to $663 million in damages and penalties.

Trinity ET PLUS Guardrail system was found guilty by a federal jury of fraud, after they were accused of secretly changing the guardrail's design. The jury originally recommended a penalty of $175 million in damages, but on Tuesday the judge increased it to $525 million, plus a civil penalty of $8,250 for each of the 16,711 false certifications Trinity made in connection with the false claims for payment.

That brings the grand total penalty to $663,360,750.

The whistle blower in this case is from Virginia, and many of these guardrails can be found here in our area. The Commonwealth is also suing Trinity in a case that has a hearing later this summer.

Following the judge's ruling, Trinity issued the following statement:

"We believe the evidence clearly shows that no fraud was committed. Trinity also believes that the trial court made significant errors in applying the federal law to the plaintiff's allegations and, therefore, the judgment is erroneous and should be reversed in its entirety. "

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