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     I had the opportunity while in at Cal Poly to participate in a 
     National Science Foundation project to catalogue construction industry 
     law suits.  We spent several long weekends in Monterey, CA reviewing 
     the files of one of the largest insurers of Architects and Engineers 
     in the world.  Among the files I reviewed was the Hyatt walkway 
     failure.  The legal documents included details and other very valuable 
     engineering information.  Unfortunately, we Engineers and Architects 
     are a vain group.  The final disposition of this file, as I recall 
     some 8 years later, was that it was sealed for some period of time 
     that would exceed the parties involved.  In other words, the companies 
     paid-off the suit to prevent their "good name" from being tarnished.  
     (Oh the things money can buy!)
     
     This brings up an very interesting point in that we as engineers are 
     denied the opportunity to learn form our mistakes by the Lawyers.  
     Among some of the cases I reviewed, were cases where a little old lady 
     turned the faucet on the tub and the water was hot, not cold.  She 
     slipped, broke her hip and dutifully sued all parties involved in the 
     project!  Yes, even the structural engineer.  The last document in the 
     file was a letter from the attorney recommending that the insurance 
     company settle on a five figure amount as any additional efforts to 
     pursue the case would result in greater costs to the insurance 
     company.  Who says being right is important, that's a fantasy land we 
     engineers have created for ourselves.  The final insult is that the 
     letter from the attorney looked like a form letter!  
     
     So, I don't believe that you'll be successful in your attempts to get 
     much more than word of mouth about the details of the incident.  I am 
     not permitted to discuss the names of companies involved, (the 
     attorneys had me sign my life away), but I can discuss the technical 
     issues.  In this case, since it is a well known event and the parties 
     involved are well known, I can't discuss the details.  In general the 
     issue is one of hanging weights from a single string vs. hanging 
     weights from a connections at various levels.  (Hint: Sum of the 
     parts.)  Try a less well known failure that the courts haven't gotten 
     hold of.  Good luck.
     
     Scott


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Subject: Hyatt walkway
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Richard Lewis, P.E.
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