KSN Investigates: Lawsuit against controversial guardrail company

KSN Investigates

WICHITA, Kan. (KSNW) – The state of Kansas will be watching closely to see what happens to a company that manufactured some controversial guardrails on Kansas roads. That’s because the state of Missouri is suing that company, Lindsay Transportation Solutions, the maker of the X-Lite Guardrail.

The lawsuit uses the words “defective,” “misrepresented,” and “fraud.” The Missouri Highways and Transportation Commission is seeking $5,176,479.25 in restitution.

In a KSN Investigation in March, we introduced you to Emily Jansen who is suing the company claiming wrongful death. She alleges the company was responsible for her husband George’s death. He was driving from their home in Overland Park to Cincinnati, Ohio, when he died in a crash involving the guardrail on Missouri roads.

Similar to the allegations in Jansen’s lawsuit, Missouri claims, “the design of the X-Lite system was defective, and ineffective at preventing spearing, vaulting, rollovers, and other unintended redirections of an impacting vehicle.”

The design of the X-Lite System was defective, and ineffective at preventing spearing, vaulting, rollovers, and other unintended redirections of an impacting vehicle.”

Missouri lawsuit against Lindsay Transportation Solutions

The lawsuit went as far as saying the company, “…misrepresented information regarding the X-Lite system for the purpose of increasing their sales and generating revenue without regard for the safety or wellbeing of the public,” and “…defendants knew that the X-Lite system would not function as they warranted, advertised or represented.”

“It’s very painful when you think our children are on these roads, our friends are on these roads, why isn’t something being done,” said Jansen.

…did not disclose that testing of the X-Lite System was performed by an affiliated corporate entity with confict of interest.”

Missouri lawsuit against Lindsay Transportation Solutions

Missouri’s lawsuit alleges Lindsay, “…did not disclose that testing of the X-Lite system was performed by an affiliated corporate entity with a conflict of interest.”

We found through State of Nebraska records, a former principal address listed for Lindsay Transportation Inc.

It is the same address listed on the California Secretary of State’s website for “Safe Technologies.” That’s the company that conducted the crash tests for Lindsay.

KSN reached out to Lindsay representatives who declined an on-camera interview but released this statement saying, “The Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) examined and re-examined the X-LITE and its in-service performance and gathered input from state departments of transportation across the United States. 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. Numerous states have confirmed that they’ve had no negative experiences with the X-LITE.”

The company also pointed out that an FHWA memo stated: “We have also examined the most rigorous in-service data that we have to date — the preliminary results of a pilot In-Service Performance Evaluation. Under the pilot, FHWA and the four states (MO, CA, MA and PA) are evaluating 9 energy absorbing guardrail terminals, including the Lindsay X-LITE. In considering the 200-plus crashes, the ratio of Fatality+ Serious Injury per total crashes does not lead to any conclusions that any of the devices, including the Lindsay X-LITE, are unsafe.”

However, dozens of states removed the X-Lite Guardrails from the roads. And there’s still an ongoing federal investigation into the company for potential violations of the Federal Civil False Claims Act. While the specifics aren’t publicly known, it typically happens when a company whistleblower accuses them of knowingly defrauding the government.

NOTE: We have updated this story to indicate that the information about the pilot in-service performance evaluation came from a memo from FHWA.

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