McKool Smith’s co-counsel victory in U.S. ex rel. Joshua Harman v. Trinity Industries Inc. et al has been recognized in The National Law Journal’s recent listing of “Top 100 Verdicts.” The $525 million jury verdict ranked as the fourth largest verdict of 2014.
The verdict was announced on October 20, 2014, after a six-day jury trial before Judge Rodney Gilstrap in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Texas in Marshall. McKool Smith’s client, Joshua Harman, a guardrail installer and former Trinity competitor, brought the case under the False Claims Act (FCA) after discovering that Trinity made changes to its guardrails that compromised the safety of the equipment without informing the United States Federal Highway Administration (FHWA). The guardrails were then sold by the company to state governments who received federal reimbursement. The jury found that Trinity Industries deliberately withheld this information from the government and awarded $175 million in damages. Under federal law, the jury’s verdict will be tripled to $525 million and then added to a penalty that will be determined by the judge at a later date.
McKool Smith was co-counsel in the case along with Boies Schiller & Flexner LLP; Durrette Crump PLC; and T. John Ward of Ward & Smith, among other firms. However, firm principal Sam Baxter played a fundamental role in securing the win. Mr. Baxter handled the direct examination of our client, relator Joshua Harman, and cross-examined four key witnesses before sealing the deal with a powerful closing argument.
This win marks McKool Smith’s 14th “Top 100 Verdict” since 2007. Along with Joshua Harman ($525M), these victories include wins on behalf of ParkerVision ($173M); VirnetX ($368M); Versata ($345M); i4i ($200M); Versata ($138M); VirnetX ($106M); Medtronic ($250M); TGIP, Inc. ($156M), Pioneer Corp. ($59M); Anascape Ltd. ($21M); Opti, Inc. ($19M); Herb Adderley ($28M); and the City of San Antonio ($21M). McKool Smith has won more “Top 100 Verdicts” than any other law firm over the last eight years.
With more than 185 trial lawyers across offices in Austin, Dallas, Houston, Los Angeles, Marshall, New York, Silicon Valley, and Washington, DC, McKool Smith has established a reputation as one of America’s leading trial firms. Over the past seven years, the firm has secured nine nine-figure jury verdicts, as well as nine eight-figure jury verdicts. The firm has also won more VerdictSearch and The National Law Journal "Top 100 Verdicts" over the last eight years than any other law firm in the country. Courtroom successes like these have earned McKool Smith critical acclaim and helped the firm become what The Wall Street Journal describes as “one of the biggest law firm success stories of the past decade.” McKool Smith represents leading clients in complex commercial litigation, intellectual property, bankruptcy, and white collar defense matters.