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Please spread the world of this news

Bob  Johnson

PS:  Where did SEAxx's  stand on this issue  ?
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Please inform your colleagues that you can find more information on the Ed 
Turner case on the WWW.AEAWORLD.ORG website by clicking the ACTION UPDATE 
button., and also on the website WWW.RESPONSIBLECHARGE.COM.  This will give 
you background information on this case. Hopefully soon, the sites will be 
updated so that they will cover the latest news on this case. 

Last week, Ed Turner was completely vindicated in District Court of Kenyon 
County, Idaho (near Boise). A jury took less than eight hours to render him a 
verdict and awarded him $285,000 in legal fees. For those of your colleagues 
who are not familiar with this case, I will briefly summarize the case now. 

Ed Turner was the City Engineer of Idaho Falls, Idaho; he was there for over 
twenty seven years. About four years ago, there was a reorganization of the 
City Engineering Department, and a non Engineer was put in charge of the 
Engineering Department. Ed was asked to sign documents over which he did not 
have responsible charge. Since this violated the Idaho Engineering Statute 
and the code of ethics for Profsesional Engineers, Ed refused to sign the 
documents. Because of his refusal, he was demoted and stripped of all 
supervisory functions. As a result of intolerable working conditions, Ed 
resigned. Subsequently, Ed sued the city of Idaho Falls. His case was 
ultimately thrown out on a technicality. Because he felt could not get a fair 
trial in Idaho Falls, he decided to settle with the city. He then sued his 
lawyer for malpractice. Ed was advised to seek legal justice in another 
jurisdiction since it appeared that he could not get a fair trial in Idaho 
Falls. After many hardships, the case finally went to trial, and in less two 
weeks a jury returned a favorable verdict, which completely vindicated Ed and 
also made him financially whole. The case was finally over and justice 
rendered on June 23, 2000. 

This case is extremely important to the Engineering Profession, in that it 
re-affirmed the issue of "Responsible Charge" as being central to the 
discharging of the responsibilities of the Professional Engineer. Although 
the case was a malpractice lawsuit, Ed's lawyer had to prove that his 
original case against the city of Idaho Falls would have been won if his 
original lawyer had not mishandled the case. In essence, Ed's present lawyer 
had to win two cases which in legal lingo is called the "case within a case"; 
first he had to demonstrate that the original case which hinged on the issue 
of Responsible Charge, could have been won if the lawyer had done a proper 
job. Secondly, he had to demonstrate that his original lawyer had been 

The American Engineering Alliance, along with other Engineering Societies and 
many members of the Engineering Community, supported Ed and his legal 
struggle over the years. Now that the Engineering Profession has won this 
major legal victory, we need to publicize it to the rest of the Engineering 
Community and the public. 

Sal Galletta, P.E. 
NSPE Queens Chapter

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