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Re: Legal and liability - using my stamp

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Jordan, and others,

        This strategy might seem to solve many problems but there are a lot of
complications.  For instance, what if your wife decided to get a divorce?  Does
that make all your family assets hers alone?  Also, unless your wife actually
contributed money to buy the assets the courts might decide to undo the
transactions on the basis that, in transferring all the assets to your wife,  you
were trying to hide them from creditors.

        I agree that you should check out what your liabilities (and your duties)
really are.  Two good places to start, both free, are your insurance underwriter
and your state or provincial licensing authority.  Here in Alberta, Canada, for
instance, all engineers are required by law to  seal (stamp) and sign all of their
own work so refusing to sign the documents is not even a legal option.  Also, here
in Alberta and in some (but not all) other provinces, the company is also required
to be registered; there is also a 10 year statute of limitations and laws
regarding when an employee can be sued so you may not be on the hook forever if
your state/province has similar laws.

        It does not follow that you should refuse to stamp company drawings.  This
would seem to be the next step up the ladder and refusing could be a career
limiting decision.  Whatever decision you make don't make it an uninformed
decision.

        Good luck.

Regards,

H. Daryl Richardson

"Jordan Truesdell, PE" wrote:

> In theory, yes. In practice, no.  Although your corporation will be the
> responsible party, I believe you can also be held personally liable for
> gross negligence (and you don't get to decide what gross negligence
> is).  More importantly, you'll have to defend yourself, and that money will
> come out of your pocket.  You should definitely talk to a lawyer - one who
> specializes in E&O claims.  Don't forget to consider your ongoing
> (lifetime) liability for anything with your signature on it.  I can't
> imagine a condition where it would be worth it for a rank-and-file employee
> to seal a document.
>
> Am I paranoid? Maybe. But as soon as my wife and I buy our next house (I'm
> in that buying/selling limbo right now) it will be solely in her name, as
> will all of our non-protected assets.  I'm careful, and answer only to
> myself in my practice, but I don't plan on having deep pockets, just in case.
>
> At 04:07 PM 6/7/2004 -0400, you wrote:
> >Jordan,
> >
> >To your knowledge, does incorporation shield you from any of that (protect
> >your personal assets?  I probably should talk to a lawyer.
> >
> >Thanks,
> >Mark Johnson PE
> >
> >In a message dated 6/7/04 12:20:39 PM Pacific Daylight Time,
> >seaint(--nospam--at)truesdellengineering.com writes:
> >
> > >....
> > > Are you willing to lose you license and all you possessions for the
> > good of
> > >  the company?  That's what they are asking you to risk.  I would ask about
> > >  E&O as well as covereage for prior acts after you leave the company (your
> > >  liabilities will follow you).
> > >
> > >  Personally, I would never seal documents from a company in which I was
> > not
> > >  an owner - it's just not worth the risk.
>
> Jordan Truesdell, PE, Principal
>
> Truesdell Engineering, Inc.
> Structural Consulting and Design
> 434 Bluegrass Trail Studio #23
> Newport, VA 24128-0342
> www.truesdellengineering.com
>
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