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Re: Definition of Unstable

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> In my opinion, this sentence indirectly refutes the third allegation 
>because I consider an unstable building to be a building where the risk of 
>potential collapse is imminent.
Think about the term 'relatively unstable' and how that might be 
construed. Also give some thought to the fact that the building stood for 
a year prior to collapse. The definitions of unstable that you've been 
handed all imply something like a pencil standing on its point, which 
falls immediately. That isn't the case here. And if you get into the 
mathematical definition of stability you risk leaving the jury 
floundering in your wake. 

I had a case involving an allegedly unstable condition of two mating 
parts of a hoist. I tried the college definition of instability on my 
lawyer client without any luck whatever. We finally got somewhere when I 
had him try to stand a pencil on its point. We also played around with 
standing a pencil on the eraser end and explaining that even though the 
pencil would stand by itself, it would fall under very small loads. 
Sometimes a two-bit demonstration works better than precise techno-speak.

I'll sticking my neck way out because I really don't know anything about 
the failure, but judging from what you've said the building was 
undergoing progressive collapse. The walls ware slipping out from under 
the roof. It sounds to me like the report uses 'relative instability' to 
connote slow unrestrained relative movement, like the way a one year old 
starts walking, not like elastic buckling. It also sounds like your 
engineer wasn't as precise as he might have been with the report and 
didn't manage to convey a sense of urgency, even though he sounds bang-on 
right. Plaintiff counsel will probably try to make a big deal of that. 

Christopher Wright P.E.    |"They couldn't hit an elephant at
chrisw(--nospam--at)        | this distance"   (last words of Gen.
___________________________| John Sedgwick, Spotsylvania 1864)

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