Dear DrD, Thank you for that interesting insight, The competitive ethic of a modern lawyer is utterly opposed to a scientific attitude that makes the truth supreme. It is also contrary the John Rawls's idea of Justice as Fairness.
Your account reminds me of the time I invented a mass-balanced relay to resist rotational acceleration (in a guided missile). The drawings were toleranced and I had a batch of a dozen made in the model shop,
They were fine, so I had a pre-production batch made. They didn't work. I was mortified, "Back to the drawing board."
In my investigation, I went back to the modelmaker. He told me, "Oh, yes." he said, "We had to shave a bit there, to ease them." As a craftsman, he had used his initiative. They had taken off less than a 1/4 mm with fine emery cloth (the model maker's companion tool). As I recall the relay armature was interfering with the bodies, Thr draughtsman had rounded the dimension of the prototype.
I had the tolerances amended and even the pre-production batch could be recovered - although that required dis-assembly and re-assembly. In contrast with your case, we were on a cost-plus contract.
It works both ways. When the Swift aircraft was discontinued (I was with another company), our management gave instructions that everything, including scrap, that could be found in the factory, should be transferred to the Swift project, to be valued by the Client's auditors,
A number of my papers are listed on my sites at http://geoffrey.beresfordhartwell.com/ and at http://www.arbitrator-engineer-gbh.co.uk/papers. It's a hobby-horse of mine.