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Re: [TowerTalk] Guying a self-supporter

To: Don Moman VE6JY <>
Subject: Re: [TowerTalk] Guying a self-supporter
From: Richards <>
Date: Tue, 04 Nov 2008 11:24:45 -0500
List-post: <">>
As a lawyer in a former life ... who has actually represented
product manufacturers, and who has also sued tower manufacturers
and won... I KNOW there is more to it than just avoiding legal claims.

This is a dangerous and uninformed statement.  Tower manufacturers
do things for good reason.  They lose in court only for good reason...
the tower is dangerous - inherently dangerous - and  the manufacturers
act TO PROTECT US from injury and property damage .. which is the
best way they protect themselves from claims by US.   Avoiding injury
and loss to one's customer is always a good idea.

But the danger is in thinking we know more than the manufacturer
and its engineers, by substituting a different part or a different method,
and it now becomes YOUR FAULT you are injured or your property
is damaged, because you became the engineer.

The last case I worked like this we won a Million Dollar Judgment
against the tower manufacturer for faulty design, but the Jury also
found the ham operator to be 90% himself at fault and causing for
his loss, and in a comparative negligence state like mine, that means
he only gets 10% of the original award against the mfr.

Now I do not want to engage in a long debate over whether legal
claims  are valid or not.   I let the Jury decide that.  If it is really
frivolous, then the Jury generally returns a Judgment of No Cause
of Action and we lose - regardless of how many examples of stupid
lawsuits you might see on 60-Minutes Sunday afternoon.

It is foolhardy and silly to believe manufacturers do things just to avoid
law suits - and ignorant to believe manufacturer engineers do things
without good safety or engineering reasons.  They lose law suits
because they are good claims.  The legal department is in constant
contact with the engineering and marketing guys, and they work
together, but you can be assured they are doing what they do for
good reasons.  If they avoid law suits, it is because they acted to
preclude injuries and property loss.  They write the specifications for
both their, and our, protection.

I will closely follow all mfr instructions and specifications.   Otherwise,
I become the engineer.   How can that be a good idea?   What do I
know that makes my engineering design or spec superior to the
design that comes from the manufacturer.   Why would I think I am
smarter than the engineer who does this for a living, and works with
his legal staff to stay out of court.

Are we really so sure of ourselves that we think we know more than
the tower company?

It was exactly that sort of attitude that cost my client 90% of his claim.
AND IT WAS A GOOD DECISION by the Jury.   My partner on the case
and I were disappointed, for sure, as we gambled on the case with the
client... but honestly, it was a good, solid judgment.   The guy was, at
least in part, responsible for causing his own injuries.

And before you claim I am just an ambulance chaser, most of my
career was spent advising companies on how to avoid liability suits,
and not bringing them - I did these with a friend who wanted some
help on these cases from someone who know the mfr's position.

But, that's just MY take....   you are free to select your own poison...

Happy trails     =====  K8JHR  =====


Don Moman VE6JY wrote:
> Many statements that come from manufacturers are driven by the legal
> department and are purely there to thwart legal action.  Do not confuse them
> with sound technical advice.


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