Jury says Texas maker of highway guardrails should pay $175 million in damages over design

MarketsAssociated Press

Jurors have decided that a Texas company should pay $175 million in damages for changing the design of highway guardrails without telling government transportation officials.

Critics say the change is turning guardrails into spears that impale cars that hit them.

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The verdict against Trinity Industries Inc. was handed down Monday in federal district court in Marshall, Texas.

The false-claims case involves the safety of end caps that are designed to protect drivers who crash into the end of a guardrail. A whistle-blower says the caps were more dangerous after Trinity redesigned them in 2005 and Trinity didn't tell government officials for years.

The company says the verdict won't withstand legal review.