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Re: Ethical Responsibility?

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Dennis,

Let's assume the worst case scenario - the engineer still does what is
right.  What will happen next?  Say, along Roger's lines, the opposing party
subpoenas the engineer's correspondence.  Then, he even may  not have to
testify.

Seriously, what would happen to a lawyer suppressing information about an
outbreak of the bubonic plague even on a attorney-client-privilege basis?

Having been through the "need to inform" situation several times, I think
that in public-danger cases we have no choice but to make a WRITTEN
statement to the authorities.  Well, if they would not do anything (which
too often is the case, in my experience) - just to stay away from the source
of danger (e.g., take another highway).

Steve

----- Original Message -----
From: Structuralist <dennis.wish(--nospam--at)gte.net>
To: <seaint(--nospam--at)seaint.org>
Sent: Wednesday, July 04, 2001 11:25
Subject: RE: Ethical Responsibility?


> Roger,
> I never said I agreed with this law (and it may be just California), but
> it is as you described and although I have not been involved in testing
> the waters, Arnold Bookbinder had. The sad fact was that the law
> protected the lawyer and the information collected for him. Public
> Safety came second.
>
> Give me some time to post the issues properly - I will call Arnold
> Bookbinder to obtain those documents that I have not saved and will post
> them so that everyone is aware of the "facts" rather than relying upon
> my memory.
>
> It is incredible that such a law exists, but I believe it is considered
> almost like the information you provide clergy. The information is
> considered sacred between the attorney and his client - the engineer is
> working for the attorney and only the attorney can release the
> information or allow the engineer to release it.
>
> Again, let me assemble the facts and I will post them.
>
> Thanks
> Dennis
>
> > -----Original Message-----
> > From: Roger Turk [mailto:73527.1356(--nospam--at)compuserve.com]
> > Sent: Wednesday, July 04, 2001 9:23 AM
> > To: seaint(--nospam--at)seaint.org
> > Subject: RE: Ethical Responsibility?
> >
> >
> > Dennis,
> >
> > This is a public safety matter!  What you have been told is
> > like an attorney
> > telling a doctor not to report an outbreak of the bubonic
> > plague, or an
> > attorney telling a water supply company not to report the
> > contamination of
> > of  the drinking water source.
> >
> > In a situation like this, I would tell the attorney to get a
> > court order
> > prohibiting me from reporting this situation to the proper
> > authorities.
> > Getting the court order would put it in the public record,
> > exactly the
> > opposite of what the attorney wants.
> >
> > If California law is similar to Arizona law, you are required
> > to report
> > unsafe conditions to the appropriate authorities, and if you
> > don't, you are
> > subject to loss of your license.
> >
> > A. Roger Turk, P.E.(Structural)
> > Tucson, Arizona
> >
> > Dennis Wish wrote:
> >
> > . > On a similar situation, I was called out by an owner and
> > his insurance . > company to inspect structural damage in in
> > Condo complex due to . > extensive termite damage. I wrote up
> > my initial investigation and . > referenced the Pest
> > Inspection services to conclude that further . >
> > investigation was necessary as the extent of potentially
> > serious . > structual damage was visible throughout the unit
> > I inspected and had . > been reported by others to be evident
> > in other units throughout the . > complex.
> >
> > . > The HOA attorney stopped all work and squelched the
> > report (which was . > sent to the owner, his insurance
> > company and the contractor he hired to . > do the repairs).
> > So far nothing has been done and there is a serious . >
> > condition but we have been prevented from intervening by the
> > HOA and . > their attorney. I suppose I could submit my
> > preliminary report to the . > building official but I have
> > been warned against doing so.
> >
> > . > So what is the next move - I feel my hands are tied as
> > all of the . > appropriate people including the Home Owners
> > Association (HOA) has been . > notified.
> >
> > . > Dennis
> >
> > > -----Original Message-----
> > > From: Nels Roselund, SE [mailto:njineer(--nospam--at)att.net]
> > > Sent: Tuesday, July 03, 2001 4:57 PM
> > > To: seaint(--nospam--at)seaint.org
> > > Subject: Re: Ethical Responsibility?
> > >
> > >
> > > What is the liability exposure posed by a single written
> > > notification as Bill offered in his proposal?  It seems
> > > adequate to me.
> > >
> > > Bill's case is similar to the case of broken roof trusses
> > > that I observed and discussed with the owner; I showed him
> > > the broken trusses and previous ineffective repairs,
> > > explained the him how a failure could take place, and why it
> > > is a hazardous condition.  The roof supported by the trusses
> > > is over a meeting room.  I told him that the room should not
> > > be used again until the roof trusses are repaired.  I then
> > > wrote a proposal for my services to design the repairs, and
> > > put my explanations and recommendations in writing.
> > >
> > > I have not visited the building since.  I have no way of
> > > knowing whether or not the room is being used -- that, of
> > > course, is out of my control and knowledge [just as, I
> > > assume, the use or non-use of the bridges is out of Bill's
> > > control and/or knowledge].  If the room is not being used,
> > > that is appropriate temporary mitigation.  I figure that the
> > > owner is a prudent person who has been adequately advised of
> > > a hazard that is under his control, and that, as owner of the
> > > building, he can be expected to take appropriate measures.
> > > If he chooses to put the room out of use until the funds are
> > > available for the needed repairs, that is a choice he has in
> > > his power to make.  If he chooses to use the room despite the
> > > warning I have given, he is, in my opinion, not being wise,
> > > but his choice is out of my control or knowledge.  How am I
> > > put in jeopardy by leaving the matter in his hands?
> > >
> > > I recently received a phone call from the owner a few months
> > > after my proposal; he told me that he will authorize my
> > > services but is not ready to do that yet.
> > >
> > > Nels Roselund
> >
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