Jury selection began Monday in what could be a billion dollar lawsuit involving guardrails that line our nation’s highways. It is the claim of whistleblower and former industry business owner, Josh Harman.
He filed a federal lawsuit on behalf of the American public in Texas where the company’s headquarters are located. Harman said the current Trinity guardrails are dangerous and deadly. He said the ET-Plus guardrails were never properly tested or properly approved by the government.
Since the guardrails were installed throughout our highways, Harman said there have been hundreds of accidents that caused more harm as a result of the guardrail.
In this type of guardrail, the terminal head is supposed to take the impact and slow down the vehicle. The railing is supposed to channel through the head and pigtail out the side –away from the car. But, there has been accident after accident where the railing gets jammed up and often pierces the vehicle like a spear. They cut through the cars and any people in its way.
One of the most recent cases was January 2014 in North Carolina. An Isuzu Trooper hit a guardrail head-on and the driver’s legs were severed.
“I've lost my legs in a wreck,” the driver told a 911 dispatcher. “I've lost my legs in a wreck. Oh, my God.” The dispatcher told him to stay calm. “I'm trying, but this blood is going out too fast,” said the driver.
“A guardrail is not supposed to cut a person in half,” said Harman.
Harman alleges Trinity slowly decreased the dimensions of the terminal head which is the part that takes the car’s impact. And, by making it smaller the railing cannot channel through the head and pigtail out the side –away from the car.
For details regarding the changes in dimensions, read the original story .
Trinity sent us this comment: “The trial is in progress and we look forward to presenting our case in court."
Trinity’s official statement:
“Trinity has a high degree of confidence in the performance and integrity of the ET-Plus® System, which we are proud to manufacture and sell under license from Texas A&M University. The false and misleading allegations being made by Mr. Harman were reviewed by the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA). The FHWA re-affirmed its acceptance of the ET-Plus® System in October 2012 and yet again in June 2014 for its eligibility for use on the National Highway System.
A lawsuit was brought by Trinity and Texas A&M for infringement of the patents covering the ET-Plus® System. During this patent lawsuit, Mr. Harman filed his own lawsuit against Trinity based on allegations of “false claims” associated with the ET-Plus® System. The U.S. Government reviewed his “false claim” allegations and declined to participate in the lawsuit. Trinity is defending itself against the individual making these allegations in court and is taking the steps necessary to fully protect the intellectual property of Texas A&M and the outstanding reputation of Trinity Highway Products and the ET-Plus® System.”
The ET-Plus® System continues to be accepted by the Federal Highway Administration for use on U.S. highways. In the case of the lawsuit that has been filed against Trinity Industries, the trial is slated to take place in Texas next week. Trinity intends to continue defending itself (and the outstanding reputation of Texas A&M) against Mr. Harman’s allegations in court.”