RE: One for the lawyers?The California Business and Professional code
requires that the owner of a company which provides engineering services be
a licensed engineer. This would place the responsibility on the owner or the
company to seal all plans prepared by his or her firm. I would also assume
that the owner would be in responsible charge on all projects produced by
the firm even if it was signed by an employee of the company.
I worked for a firm as a Chief engineer. About eight years after leaving, I
received a subpoena for legal action against the company on a project that I
was supposed to have signed as the EOR. Although it turned out that I had
left the firm before the permit was issued and the project was completed by
another engineer, I was told by the current owner of the company that his
E&O coverage would have protected me as I was employed by him. While this
made me nervous, there did not appear to be a problem when his attorney
contacted me as my resprentation. As I mentioned, I discovered that the
permitted drawings was actually sealed by another engineer and I was dropped
from the case. However, the attorney hired me to review the depositions and
advise them of my opinions as to the adequacy of the other sides case. The
whole thing was settled out of court as they usually are and I was paid for
my services from three different insurance companies (all paying 1/3 of my
Dennis S. Wish, PE
From: Adair, Joel [mailto:JAdair(--nospam--at)Halff.com]
Sent: Monday, March 12, 2001 11:49 AM
Subject: RE: One for the lawyers?
How can the "current engineer" (I'm assuming you mean one that survived the
layoff) legally and ethically seal the drawings that were not prepared under
his or her supervision, though? If I was that "current engineer" being
asked by my employer to seal the drawings, I would want no part of it. I
don't know what a proper resolution is, but it seems to me that this can't
be a situation for which there is no precedent. How many engineers could
there be out there who have left a firm after a project is through the
design stage but has not yet been constructed? My guess is that this is
fairly common. There must be ways of addressing the liability issues in
(Please note "EIT" below -- translated: "They didn't teach me this kind of
stuff in school.")
Joel Adair, EIT
Halff Associates, Inc.
From: sscholl2(--nospam--at)juno.com [mailto:sscholl2(--nospam--at)juno.com]
Sent: Sunday, March 11, 2001 8:31 PM
Subject: Re: One for the lawyers?
I suggest that you contact your former employer and ask them to inform
the owner that you are no longer connnected with the project and to
provide you with a copy of the letter or as an alternative to have the
current engineer seal the drawings and substitute them for the ones you
sealed. If they do not do this, you should contact the owner and inform
them. This is similar to projects which we do and do not get fully paid.
We inform the approving agency that we are no longer the engineer of
Stan Scholl, P.E.