Missouri sues guardrail-making company for negligence, fraud

Associated Press
Stock art of a judge's gavel

KANSAS CITY — A Missouri commission is suing a company that makes guardrails, saying its equipment is defective.

The Missouri Highways and Transportation Committee, a six-member board that governs the Missouri Department of Transportation, is suing Lindsay Corp. for negligence and fraud, KSHB-TV  reported.

Court documents allege that the defendants "concealed or misrepresented the results of testing" done on the X-Lite system, showing it was defective and unsafe.

The suit seeks $4.8 million, among other costs, for removing and replacing the guardrails in Missouri. The petition argues that the guardrails "increased, rather than decreased, the chance of property damage, personal injury and death to impacting motorists and passengers" and failed to prevent the end of guardrails from "violently penetrating through vehicles."

Lindsay Transportation Solutions told KSHB that the X-Lite system has been examined by the the Federal Highway Administration. "In FHWA's evaluations, the X-LITE performed consistently with other end terminals on U.S. roads and highways and did not lead to any conclusion that the X-LITE was unsafe," the company said.

The lawsuit alleges that Lindsay Corp. and its affiliates "continuously modified the X-LITE through the course of testing," without disclosing to the state that systems installed on Missouri roadways varied in design. The company also didn't reveal that an affiliate corporate entity conducted the testing, which presented a conflict of interest, according to the suit.

Attorneys for the commission did not immediately respond to the TV station's request for comment.

The guardrails are also the subject of a lawsuit filed by the family of George Jansen, who died after his vehicle crashed into a guardrail in 2017. That suit is scheduled to go to trial in March.

Upon impact, one section of the guardrail system is designed to slide into another, absorbing the kinetic energy of the collision. But pictures from the wreck show that the guardrail turned into a spear, piercing through Jansen's truck.