Live 5 Investigates: Judge triples fine against guardrail company

Live 5 Investigates: Judge triples fine against guardrail company

(WCSC) - A US District Court judge has tripled damages against a company supplying thousands of guardrails on South Carolina highways.

Last month, a Live 5 Investigation revealed Trinity Industries supplied thousands of guardrails in the state.

A district court in Texas found the company defrauded the federal government when it changed the design of its ET-Plus guardrail without telling them.

They are supposed fold up when hit by a car, reducing the chance of death or injury to people in the car. Joshua Harman, a competitor in Virginia, said that the design change could lead to deaths. Trinity says they are safe.

On Tuesday, a judge tripled the jury's judgment of $175 million to $525 million. It also added $138 million in penalties for false claims. The judge said Harman should get 30 percent of the $663 million award, or $199 million.

In a statement, Trinity denied any allegations of fraud and says the judgment should be reversed.

Our investigation found thousands of these kinds of guardrails on our highways - and that the State Department of Transportation doesn't keep track of where they all are.

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