RE: Documentation Issues: Lawsuits, Regulatory Actions

Subject: RE: Documentation Issues: Lawsuits, Regulatory Actions
From: "Joe Malin" <jmalin -at- tuvox -dot- com>
To: "Nuckols, Kenneth M" <Kenneth -dot- Nuckols -at- mybrighthouse -dot- com>, "Gene Kim-Eng" <techwr -at- genek -dot- com>, "Scott Abel" <abelsp -at- netdirect -dot- net>, <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com>
Date: Tue, 17 Jan 2006 09:53:42 -0800

The McDonald's example is fraught with peril.

Most people don't know all the facts of that case, and so use it as an
example even though it doesn't apply.

I have studied the case in depth. After my study, I concluded that the
case wasn't frivolous, McDonald's handled it with insensitivity and
irresponsibility, and the woman was severely injured. McDonald's and
others are trying to protect themselves with those warnings, when based
on the facts of the case what they should be doing is warning *their

Apply the documentation to the people who need it.

A final note: Because of court procedures and laws in this country, it's
fairly easy to bring suit for negligence, and losing has little risk to
the plaintiff. An intelligent person is right to use the available law
and bring suit as a "gamble." Some evidence suggests that this has
worked in the past with some companies that preferred to settle, but
that may no longer be true.

The solution is to change the law. I favor that. Don't blame lawyers or
people for using the law.


Joe Malin
Technical Writer
jmalin -at- tuvox -dot- com
The views expressed in this document are those of the sender, and do not
necessarily reflect those of TuVox, Inc.

-----Original Message-----
From: techwr-l-bounces+jmalin=tuvox -dot- com -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com
[mailto:techwr-l-bounces+jmalin=tuvox -dot- com -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com] On Behalf
Of Nuckols, Kenneth M
Sent: Tuesday, January 17, 2006 5:31 AM
To: Gene Kim-Eng; Scott Abel; techwr-l -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com
Subject: RE: Documentation Issues: Lawsuits, Regulatory Actions

Gene said...
> I know of several instances where companies were sued by people
> *claiming* that products had inaccurate or misleading information in
> their product documents. However, in all of the instances I can think

> of, the suits were either thrown out or the companies won. I'm sure
> there must be a case somewhere in which someone sued and won using
> poor product documentation as an arguement, but off the top of my head

> I can't think of any.

What about suits due to a _lack_ of documentation? I think we all
remember what most consider the "frivolous" lawsuit against McDonald's
over the hot coffee a woman spilled on herself. She sued and won because
she claimed the restaurant didn't warn her that the coffee was hot.


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