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Re: Asking is not disqualifing

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In a message dated 2/1/2005 3:06:30 PM Eastern Standard Time, MRKGP(--nospam--at) writes:

There has been an attempt to disqualify an expert Structural Engineering witness because he is on record asking relative questions on-line. There needs to be a defense developed for all engineers to allow such open questioning. A researching engineer, willing to have an open on-line dialogue, should be the most respected.


It's not clear what you were intending by your post, as you just stated your opinion and didn't ask for other opinions.
I'm not sure I would categorically agree that an engineer asking questions should be respected.  But I certainly think asking questions should be allowed, and in fact encouraged, because it is likely to establish one of two things:
a.)  the engineer has very little understanding of the issues and is not qualified as an expert
b.)  the engineer has a very good understanding of the issues, and realizes that there are different interpretations of certain points, different requirements in different states, different terminology is different parts of the country, etc.,  and is researching these differences in a very expedient way.
But speaking personally for myself,  if I am asking about an issue pertaining to a litigation,  or even a potential litigation,  I generally do it in such a way that the question is not directly related to the litigation. 
That's for a lot of good legal reasons,  but also because asking in a public forum is usually the third or fourth step in the research,  after I have found references with different opinions,  noticed that there have been code changes, etc.
If the litigation is whether they should have used two nails or three nails when nailing piece A to piece B,  a question asking "do you use two nails or three?"  in a public forum may be looked at as sign the engineer doesn't have sufficient expertise. 
A question why Washington requires two nails and Oregon requires three probably does demonstrate the engineer understands the issue.
Gail Kelley