On Monday, a Texas jury found that Trinity Industries Inc. (Trinity) defrauded the United States government of $175 million by hiding changes to its guardrail systems. According to an article in the New York Times, Joshua Harman, a competitor, filed a False Claims Act lawsuit, under the qui tam provisions of the act, in 2012 alleging that Trinity changed the design of its ET-Plus rail head without disclosing the changes to the Federal Highway Administration. Harman was represented by Nicholas Gravante Jr. of Boies, Schiller & Flexner LLP. As a result of the change, the guardrail can seize up and impale vehicles that hit the end of the guardrail claims an article on Bloomberg.
The company could face liability close to $1 billion after the damages are tripled as required by the False Claims Act. In addition, the Act imposes penalties for each false claim submitted. Trinity has indicated that it will appeal the verdict.
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