MARSHALL, Texas (June 9, 2015) -- On June 9, 2015, Judge Rodney Gilstrap of the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Texas entered a final judgment of $663,360,750 against defendant Trinity Industries Inc., which tripled a $175 million False Claims Act verdict that McKool Smith helped secure on behalf of the plaintiff, relator Joshua Harman, and levied an additional $138 million in penalties against the defendant.
McKool Smith, along with co-counsel from Boies, Schiller & Flexner, T. John Ward of Ward & Smith, and DurretteCrump PLC, among other firms, originally secured a unanimous jury verdict against Trinity Industries Inc. on October 20, 2014 following a six-day jury trial before Judge Gilstrap. The jury found that the company defrauded the United States by making false statements concerning a modified guardrail system and ordered it to pay $175 million in damages.
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.
The case is U.S. ex rel. Joshua Harman v. Trinity Industries Inc. et al., case number 2:12-cv-00089, in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Texas.