U.S. Highway Official Defended Trinity Guardrails Despite Safety Concerns
Posted On behalf of Simien & Simien on Nov 05, 2014 in Defective Products
An investigation into the Federal Highway Administration’s (FHWA) handling of complaints that Trinity Highway Products’ guardrails were unsafe revealed that an FHWA engineer may have not heeded early warning signs.
Beginning in 2012, Nick Artimovich went back and forth with Trinity consultants and safety experts about the potential dangers of Trinity guardrails. In one instance, a safety expert wrote to Artimovich that Trinity may have made an unauthorized changed to their guardrail system that could impact the safety of the public. Armitovich forwarded the inquiry to a Trinity consultant and suggested the consultant alert Trinity lawyers.
Less than two weeks ago, a Texas jury found Trinity guilty of changing the dimensions of their shock absorber mechanism units without notifying the safety agency. In addition to the $175 million jury award that Trinity is required to pay, the FHWA has ordered Trinity to submit their ET-Plus guardrail terminals to further safety testing; these guardrails have been sold to highway departments since 1999.
Josh Harman, who exposed Trinity Guardrail Products' false claims in a whistleblower lawsuit, alleged that after he discovered that the company changed their ET-Plus’ dimensions, he alerted Artimovich. Artimovich told Trinity about Harman’s findings as well as about a presentation Harman had put together about the dangerous guardrails around 2012.
Artimovich met with Trinity officials one month later and the company told him that they hadn’t informed the agency of their 2005 change, but that they had properly tested the revised version.
States Begin to Ban Trinity Guardrails
More than 18 lawsuits have been filed against Trinity alleging that their dangerous guardrail terminals were the cause of eight deaths and 14 injuries. At least one dozen of these lawsuits are still pending.
Several states are taking action by banning the use of Trinity Guardrail Products’ ET-Plus guardrail head. In October, more than 22 states, including Louisiana, banned the use of these defective guardrails. Montana intends to ban the use of the guardrails on Nov. 13 while Nevada will ban the use Trinity guardrails early next year.
If you or someone you love has been injured due to a Trinity guardrail, contact the product liability attorneys at Simien & Simien. We can help you determine what your legal options are and fight for your rights.
For a free legal consultation, call (800) 374-8422 or fill out our online contact form.