I think Bill is wrong on corporate liability in all but very limited cases.
When an Engineer stamps and signs a drawing, it is the person signing the
drawing that is liiable, and if he or she works for a corporation the corp
is liable too. A few states like New York allow very old Engineering
Corporations (pre 1930) to have a corporate vail, but most practising
Engineers are on the hook personally for any errors.
John Schenne, PE
Schenne & Associates
----- Original Message -----
From: Robert Shaffer <rkdn(--nospam--at)cruzio.com>
Sent: Monday, April 02, 2001 1:53 PM
Subject: RE: Engineering from Home - Protecting Perso
> I think I will throw my hat in with Bill on this, incorporation
> does provide additional protection of personal assets. It does not
> you from malpractice claims, but that is just one part of the law. A
> corporation must act as a corporation, i.e.: it can't buy your groceries,
> or else the corporate veil can be pierced.
> This peeked my curiosity so I did a little searching on the web and found
> the following Legal Web Site last night;
> The stuff I could understand was listed under the subject of Legal
> Documents, searching under malpractice and professional corporations and
> the like.
> Interesting topics included the requirement in many states that a
> professional" must first prove negligence on the part of the engineer
> to filing a law suit. In order to reduce frivolous suits.
> There is something similar in California. An associate was named in a suit
> for a light standard that had failed due to a rusted base-plate column
> connection which was then subjected to cantenary cable forces from
> on a car lot. He had designed the foundation and had nothing to do with
> manufacture or maintenance of the light pole. He was able to get his
> fees paid by the plaintiff's attorney who had not hired a qualified
> professional to prepare a report prior to naming him in the suit. To say
> that the plaintiff's attorney was pissed would be an understatement, he
> to pay for the original defense and the costs being of sued and experts
> all the other stuff attorneys heap on.
> So sometimes there is a happy ending for us engineers.
> Robert Shaffer, PE
> Santa Cruz, CA
> PS: Please add Steven Stills to the guitar virtuosos list.
> -----Original Message-----
> From: Fountain Conner [mailto:fconner(--nospam--at)pcola.gulf.net]
> Sent: Monday, April 02, 2001 1:00 PM
> To: seaint(--nospam--at)seaint.org
> Subject: Re: Engineering from Home - Protecting Perso
> Bill, you've been misled, perhaps by your "small business development
> Incorporation is lovely, unless you're an engineer. There is a very cute
> legal thing (I believe in all states) called "Piercing the Corporate
> I know this applies in Louisiana and Florida, because I've checked (after
> the fact, when I incorporated in Louisiana).
> Before you spend the $$$ on incorporation (assuming protection from
> lawsuits is the main goal), I'd make sure the protection you want is
> available to you as an engineer.
> I'll bet you a coke... ;-)
> > From: Bill Polhemus <bill(--nospam--at)polhemus.cc>
> > To: seaint(--nospam--at)seaint.org
> > Subject: RE: Engineering from Home - Protecting Perso
> > Date: Monday, April 02, 2001 1:43 PM
> > I am going to incorporate based on information gained from a small
> > development course I have been taking through the University of Houston.
> > The fact is, a corporation WILL protect you from lawsuits, particularly
> > the frivolous kind, because the corporation will be the entity that is
> > not you personally.
> > Also, while you're right that you can't "contract away negligence", the
> > is that MOST lawsuits, and MOST jury awards, are for "frivolous
> > you are at fault, you're at fault. But such a setup will prevent someone
> > with a brief for just "getting" you for whatever reason, from coming
> > with anything of value.
> > A Subchapter "S" seems to be fairly easy to set up, and does not
> > you unduly from taxes.
> > William L. Polhemus, Jr., P.E.
> > Polhemus Engineering Company
> > Katy, Texas
> > Phone 281-492-2251
> > Fax 281-492-8203
> > -----Original Message-----
> > From: Roger Turk [mailto:73527.1356(--nospam--at)compuserve.com]
> > Sent: Monday, April 02, 2001 3:19 PM
> > To: seaint(--nospam--at)seaint.org
> > Subject: Engineering from Home - Protecting Perso
> > Michelle,
> > Unless your "corporation" is the registered structural engineer, the
> > corporation does not protect anything.