Return to index: [Subject] [Thread] [Date] [Author]

RE: Statute of Limitations

[Subject Prev][Subject Next][Thread Prev][Thread Next]
Jim Lutz wrote:

>>I would recommend that you throw all that stuff away. If anybody ever does
want to sue you, they will just use it for ammunition. Have you ever done a
set of calcs that you didn't find a mistake or two in later, or wish you had
checked one more thing? Make them work for it! Those old calcs in the attic
are just loaded pistols waiting to be misused.<<

Throwing them out would be like playing Russian Roulette with an automatic 

CNA/Schinnerer's booklet, "The Litigation Process," states:

"_Never alter, destroy or dispose of the original records._  Any alteration 
of existing records will either be obvious or subject to detection by experts 
in document analysis.  Changes might be viewed by a jury as an admission that 
there is something to hide or cover up.  Changes to clarify records, to make 
them more legible or to add missing information, even if made in 'good 
faith,' are subject to misinterpretation by a jury.  The plaintiff's 
attorneys have access to experts in document authentication." [Emphasis 
included in the original.]

Getting rid of records throws away *any* chance for you to prove how 
carefully you performed the analysis/design, and if a mistake was made, the 
records would show where and how a mistake was made.  Without the original 
records, the result of any mistake would be subject to speculation by the 
opposing expert.  What would you rather have; the opposing expert saying, 
"The only explanation that I can come up with is that [the engineer] 
completely ignored recognized design procedures and engineering principles to 
arrive at [the design]," or, "Yes, I reviewed [the engineer's] structural 
calculations and his approach was very thorough, however, [the engineer] did 
make an error on sheet ## which was not caught in checking or back checking 
which resulted in [an inadequate structure]"?

By destroying your records, you don't make the opposing side "work for it;" 
you hand them all the ammunition that they need on a silver platter!

A. Roger Turk, P.E.(Structural)
Tucson, Arizona