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Solicitors assessing/adjudicating mechanical engineering disputes

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Hello Forum

What are your views on Solicitors or anyone in the legal fraternity assessing/adjudicating mechanical engineering disputes?  Can engineering disputes be debated because the building blocks for engineering are Maths and Science where you have single universally right and wrong answers/meanings/solution?  How can solicitors be expected to understand engineering they did not study or train in? 

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Many years ago, I was involved as an expert in a legal dispute. My company was suing the US Army in a contract dispute. I got a very bad taste for lawyers as a result.

An Army facility had designed a mechanical system and put out drawings for the system as the basis for suppliers to bid on building the system. There were five major suppliers bidding to build these devices for the Army, and the bidding was extremely competitive. Being higher by half a cent  ($0.005) per unit would mean losing the bid.

My employer had the misfortune to win the bidding, and we were building this rather complicated mechanical system (around 200 parts) for about $15 per unit with many 1000s to be built. Each week's production would be declared to be a "lot," typically around 20,000 units. The inspectors would draw a random sample for testing, and if all tests were passed, the lot was accepted and the company was paid for the material. If any tests were failed (and there were about a dozen different tests), the lot was rejected and the company received no payment.

Dimensional tolerances were extremely critical, and the company had taken then into account in the bidding. In suing the Army, my employer was alleging that the tolerances had been deliberately set loose for the bidding while the Army knew that closer tolerances were required in order to consistently meet all the specifications and pass the tests. The Army denied this.

My job for 18 months was to demonstrate mathematically that there were dimensional combinations within the allowed tolerances that would fail some of the tests, and therefore that the Army had misled the bidders in the original contract negotiations. I did this quite fully, showing that some combinations would work while others would not, even though all were within the specifications on the drawings.

I was completely disgusted by the attitudes of the lawyers on both sides. The had ZERO interest in the truth; they only care about winning the argument. They were only interested in information that supported their side of the case. If a part of my study did not support my employer's case, our attorneys ordered me to destroy that paper work and to deny that I had ever done it if asked. I refused to do that; the truth is the truth.

Most of my encounters with lawyers since that time has supported my early evaluation; they are evil men (and women) intent only on winning. Truth means nothing to a lawyer!

 

DrD

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Dr D.

Pit bulls are some of the gentlest dogs unless they are trained otherwise. A lawyer like a politician only cares, or must force themselves to only care, about winning. How much is training, and how much is evil by their nature is impossible to determine.They present a set of information (I hesitate to use facts). The presented information is turned over to a third party judge/jury who come to a decision based on two or more biased and incomplete sets of information.

I have sat in court knowing the full story and listening to what was presented which then becomes the only "truth" the jury knows. I have come to realize that we have a legal system and justice is an illusion. I would go one step further and say we have a decision system.

As engineers we need to get as close to the truth to prevent danger to those using our designs. The legal system needs to reach a decision so the system can move on. And they are very slow to undo a decision even when confronted with information that would have altered the original decision.

My advice about our legal system, avoid it like a disease. If dragged into it don't expect justice any more than you would expect a fair fight from a mugger.

Good engineers can keep you out of trouble.  A good lawyer can get you out of trouble. For the first case good is a complement. In the latter, it does not necessarily have the same connotation as the first.

Praised be to God we made our livelihood as engineers.

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This is a really fine post by JAG, and I'm sorry I only saw it so late (today). That said, I would add just a little bit.

On 5/26/2019 at 11:00 PM, JAG Engineering LLC said:

A lawyer like a politician only cares, or must force themselves to only care, about winning. How much is training, and how much is evil by their nature is impossible to determine.

Lawyers are only lawyers because the choose to be lawyers. This is a free choice. They volunteer for that sort of work. In making that choice, volunteering as it were, they abandon morality and make themselves volunteer hostages to a system that has no interest in truth, only an interest in winning. In my view, to make that choice, and those who make it, completely immoral.

I have to add that my sister is a lawyer, and we have had many battle over this matter. Now, we rarely speak about it because there is no resolution possible. In life, that is how things work. Those who sell their souls to the devil cannot be talked back.

DrD

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