18 Jul 2016 Cases

La Crosse County v. Trinity Industries, Inc.

2 minute read


Trinity Industries, Inc., a manufacturer of highway guardrail safety products, was sued by a purchaser of their products in Wisconsin, who claimed that Trinity had failed to disclose certain design changes to the Federal Highway Administration, to State Departments of Transportation across the country, and to individual buyers. Plaintiffs alleged multiyear classes of all purchasers of the challenged products in Wisconsin and nationwide, which together accounted for more than $240 million of purchases. Plaintiffs submitted expert reports from two experts proposing class-wide methodologies to quantify the alleged damages.

Compass Lexecon was retained by counsel for Trinity to evaluate these methodologies and their appropriateness for class certification purposes. Compass Lexecon Senior Managing Director Mark Israel filed an expert report demonstrating that the methodologies proposed by Plaintiff’s experts failed in a variety of ways, including their inability to ascertain the relevant class members/purchases and a failure to account for intergovernmental reimbursements received by the putative class members. Dr. Israel’s report also showed that in many cases, members of the putative class suffered no injury at all, meaning that substantial individualized inquiry would be required and that class-wide methods were inappropriate.

In a complete win for Trinity, on July 18, 2016, prior to a hearing on the class issues, Plaintiffs agreed to a full settlement of their claims in which Trinity paid nothing. Dr. Israel was supported by a team in Compass Lexecon's Chicago and Washington DC offices led by Todd Kendall and Ian MacSwain and also included Chandni Raja and Jonathon McClure. Trinity was successfully represented in the proceedings by Adam Hoeflich of Bartlit Beck Herman Palenchar & Scott LLP, as well as attorneys from Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher LLP, including Andrew B. Blumberg, Christine Demana, Bradley G. Hubbard, Andrew LeGrand, Brian E. Robison, and Benjamin D. Wilson, and attorneys from Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld LLP, including Michelle A. Reed and Elizabeth Marie Dulong Scott.

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