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RE: Shoring Design

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Consider the extreme case where the EOR puts a note saying: "EOR will not be liable for any error, omissions, or negligence in the EOR's work."  The EOR is clearly liable for their own work, so such a note would be meaningless.  Similarly, if you include a note saying you have no liability with regard to the contractor's means and methods, and the court decides that you were properly responsible for some of what you arbitrarily decided not to consider, that note could be meaningless, too.  It might help clarify thing, but it is no silver bullet. 
 
Paul Crocker
 
-----Original Message-----
From: Caldwell, Stan [mailto:scaldwell(--nospam--at)halff.com]
Sent: Tuesday, January 21, 2003 10:23 AM
To: 'seaint(--nospam--at)seaint.org'
Subject: RE: Shoring Design

Ellen:
 
The answer to your first question is "yes" in Heaven, but "no" in Texas.  While the American justice system is the best in the world, it is far from perfect.  The jury selection process is often designed to pick the twelve most ignorant individuals in the jury pool.  The O. J. Simpson criminal trial as a good example of this.  In our world of joint and several liability, lawyers can creatively assert blame on the most circular of arguments, and sell their nonsense to some or most members of a carefully chosen jury.  In some cases, if an engineering firm can be found to be only 1% liable, it can be assessed up to 100% of the total damages.
 
The answer to your second question is "maybe".  It depends upon the exact wording of the disclaimer, the personality of the judge and/or jury, and the idiosyncrasies of the state law where the litigation is being pursued.  Many of us sleep soundly with the thought that we are protected by great disclaimers, only to find out too late that they might be nearly worthless when actually tested in a court of law.
 
In closing, I recommend that everyone participating in this list set aside some quality time in 2003 to study the realities of professional liability facing all structural engineers every day.  Having served as an expert in a couple dozen lawsuits over the past two decades, I have learned a great deal from other engineer's mistakes.  This knowledge has greatly helped me in keeping my practice out of the cross-hairs.  As a first source of educational materials, I recommend that you contact your professional liability carrier.  In particular, DPIC has tons of outstanding resources.
 
Regards,
 
Stan R. Caldwell, P.E.
Dallas, Texas
(Hockeytown South)
   
-----Original Message-----
From: Ellen Eastgate [mailto:ellene(--nospam--at)psm-engineers.com]
Sent: Tuesday, January 21, 2003 11:53 AM
To: seaint(--nospam--at)seaint.org
Subject: RE: Shoring Design

Stan wrote -
 
"......The collapses occurred because of the failure of the field laborers (a.k.a., the deceased) to employ the shoring systems, even though the equipment and materials were right there on the job sites......"
 
Wouldn't this be enough evidence siding with the engineer of record that it wasn't their fault?  Is a disclaimer in the General Notes, such as the following, not enough?
 
"The Structural Engineer is not responsible for, and will not have control of, construction means, methods, techniques, sequences or procedures, or for safety precautions and programs in connection with the construction work, nor will he be responsible for the Contractor's failure to carry out the construction work in accordance with the contract documents."
 
Ellen