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

RE: Ethical Responsibility?

[Subject Prev][Subject Next][Thread Prev][Thread Next]
Arnold Bookbinder let a strong campaign to change the laws that protect
information accumulated while under the employ of an attorney as an
expert witness. I have the papers that Arnold sent me to follow the
legislation that was suppose to overturn the law and act to protect
lives before the privacy of the information provided to an attorney. I
need to dig for these and it may take some time. Unfortunately, Arnold
is not on the Internet and has also started to "ease" into retirement. I
know I can obtain more accurate information from him and will post it on
the Structuralist.Net forums as soon as I receive it.
I'll keep you informed so you understand the issues and problems related
to this issue. I am sorry that I can't be more specific as I there are
so many issues to stay abreast of and this was one that I was informed
of but not directly involved with. 

Dennis 

> -----Original Message-----
> From: h.d.richardson(--nospam--at)home.com [mailto:h.d.richardson(--nospam--at)home.com] 
> Sent: Tuesday, July 03, 2001 5:05 PM
> To: seaint(--nospam--at)seaint.org
> Subject: Re: Ethical Responsibility?
> 
> 
> Denis,
> 
> 	I would like to "pick at" your response that a 
> structural engineer is required not to report a safety 
> problem if he is working for a lawyer on a case.
> 
> 	In this case I suggest that you report it to the lawyer 
> and, if nothing is being done, report it to your insurer.
> 
> 	Perhaps others might have some thoughts on this 
> sideline.  I haven't actually encountered this situation before.
> 
> 				Regards,
> 
> 				H. Daryl Richardson
> 
> Structuralist wrote:
> > 
> > Bill,
> > There is, I believe, a requirement (although it probably is 
> in either 
> > the ethical standards publication of SEAOC or located in 
> the Business 
> > and Professional Code that if you are aware of an unsafe 
> condition you 
> > must report it. My understanding (and perhaps some of you expert 
> > witnesses can clarify this for us) is that you are required 
> to report 
> > it to the code governing agency if the owner does not take 
> appropriate 
> > steps. The catch-22 to this rule is that if you discover 
> the problem 
> > while working for an attorney as an expert witness, they you are 
> > required "not to report it" under the laws protecting the 
> attorney's 
> > case. I wish I could be more specific. Arnold Bookbinder, 
> SE who wrote 
> > the original Professional Ethics manual for SEAOC many years ago 
> > was/is an expert witness who has been trying to fight the legal 
> > profession on this issue. It may have changed recently, but 
> the ruling 
> > is that you have a responsibility to the attorney client privilege 
> > first and therefore can not report anything about the case 
> without the 
> > attorney's consent.
> > 
> > In your case, I would say that you have a responsibility to 
> report it 
> > to the local code enforcing agency to protect the lives of 
> the public 
> > who will use the bridge. The client put you in this 
> position and you 
> > need to make it clear what the professional business and 
> conduct codes 
> > outline as your responsibility. If you can not prompt them 
> to act from 
> > this, then you "gotta do what you gotta do" regardless of 
> their anger. 
> > This is not a private home where you may have more latitude 
> to notify 
> > the owner of the potential harm and walk away from it. It 
> is a public 
> > building and your responsibility is to the public.
> > 
> > Tough position to be in, but I think we all have been in similar 
> > situations.
> > 
> > Dennis
> > 
> > > -----Original Message-----
> > > From: Bill Polhemus [mailto:bill(--nospam--at)polhemus.cc]
> > > Sent: Tuesday, July 03, 2001 11:58 AM
> > > To: seaint(--nospam--at)seaint.org
> > > Subject: Ethical Responsibility?
> > >
> > >
> > > Some time back I made a proposal to a non-profit foundation, to 
> > > inspect some timber bridges on their property. I believe 
> I mentioned 
> > > it here on SEAINT, that the foundation often has "guests" 
> that tour 
> > > their facility, a sort of historical park, and use the bridges in 
> > > the process, sometimes on park-owned trams that are 
> tractor-pulled, 
> > > and sometimes even in tour buses owned by third party transit 
> > > companies.
> > >
> > > My preliminary inspection of the bridges showed them to be rather 
> > > beaten up, some even in need of immediate repair. I made what I 
> > > considered to be a reasonable proposal, including timber 
> inspection 
> > > by a qualified subconsultant, a report on the condition and 
> > > recommendation for repairs. I then submitted it to their board. I 
> > > have not heard anything from them, though it has been 
> nearly three 
> > > months.
> > >
> > > What I suspect, knowing how things are done in these here 
> parts, is 
> > > that the board took a look at the cost, whistled, and 
> then said to 
> > > themselves "well, we really don't NEED to do this 
> inspection, let's 
> > > just have Zeke the groundskeeper go out and replace some o' them 
> > > there boards on the deck."
> > >
> > > They MAY have even gone out for further "bids," which 
> doesn't really 
> > > bother me much since I've decided long before this that I'm NOT 
> > > going to be the "low-priced spread."
> > >
> > > But if they are really doing nothing, I am concerned, 
> because I do 
> > > think there is a potential hazard there with those 
> bridges. Whether 
> > > I do the inspection or someone else does it, so long as adequate 
> > > recommendations are made to remedy what I consider a dangerous 
> > > situation, I don't mind.
> > >
> > > What is my RESPONSIBILITY, though, knowing about such a 
> situation? 
> > > Have I done all I can or should do in making the proposal? I used 
> > > precise language in the proposal, letting them know that 
> they need 
> > > to take action, but does that absolve me of further 
> responsibility, 
> > > or might it mean that I'm even MORE at risk here, should 
> something 
> > > happen, since it demonstrates the extent to which I did 
> know about 
> > > the problem? After all, it is my firm conclusion, based on
> > > experience, that NO good deed goes unpunished!
> > >
> > > Has anyone else here ever encountered a situation like this? What 
> > > did you do about it?
> > >
> > > William L. Polhemus, Jr., P.E.
> > > Polhemus Engineering Company
> > > Katy, Texas
> > > Phone 281-492-2251
> > > Fax 281-492-8203
> > >
> > >
> > > *
> > > *   This email was sent to you via Structural Engineers
> > > *   Association of Southern California (SEAOSC) server. To
> > > *   subscribe (no fee) or UnSubscribe, please go to:
> > > *
> > > *   http://www.seaint.org/sealist1.asp
> > > *
> > > *   Questions to seaint-ad(--nospam--at)seaint.org. Remember, any email you
> > > *   send to the list is public domain and may be re-posted
> > > *   without your permission. Make sure you visit our web
> > > *   site at: http://www.seaint.org
> > >
> > 
> > *
> > *   This email was sent to you via Structural Engineers
> > *   Association of Southern California (SEAOSC) server. To
> > *   subscribe (no fee) or UnSubscribe, please go to:
> > *
> > *   http://www.seaint.org/sealist1.asp
> > *
> > *   Questions to seaint-ad(--nospam--at)seaint.org. Remember, any email you
> > *   send to the list is public domain and may be re-posted
> > *   without your permission. Make sure you visit our web
> > *   site at: http://www.seaint.org
> 
> * 
> *   This email was sent to you via Structural Engineers 
> *   Association of Southern California (SEAOSC) server. To 
> *   subscribe (no fee) or UnSubscribe, please go to:
> *
> *   http://www.seaint.org/sealist1.asp
> *
> *   Questions to seaint-ad(--nospam--at)seaint.org. Remember, any email you 
> *   send to the list is public domain and may be re-posted 
> *   without your permission. Make sure you visit our web 
> *   site at: http://www.seaint.org 
> 


* 
*   This email was sent to you via Structural Engineers 
*   Association of Southern California (SEAOSC) server. To 
*   subscribe (no fee) or UnSubscribe, please go to:
*
*   http://www.seaint.org/sealist1.asp
*
*   Questions to seaint-ad(--nospam--at)seaint.org. Remember, any email you 
*   send to the list is public domain and may be re-posted 
*   without your permission. Make sure you visit our web 
*   site at: http://www.seaint.org