Re: Liability and Morality

Subject: Re: Liability and Morality
From: "Dennis Hays/The Burden Lake Group, Ltd." <dlhays -at- IX -dot- NETCOM -dot- COM>
Date: Thu, 27 Jun 1996 07:33:22 -0400

At 05:34 PM 6/26/96 EST, Tim Altom <taltom -at- IQUEST -dot- NET> wrote:
>Obviously what we do has an impact on a company's liability, an impact that
>varies from insignificant to central, depending on what we're documenting,
>the organization we're working for, and so forth. As a profession, what are
>we ultimately responsible for in liability?

I think there must be a sense, somewhere in the middle, where we, as
writers, document any cautions/dangers in the normal use of a product.
Normal must be using a lawnmower for the intended use--cutting a lawn and
not clipping hedges. And so, document not putting body parts near the blade
parts of the device. Also, I think, document the hazards of either
electricity or gasoline.

There's still some areas though, which are difficult to forsee, such as hot
coffee. Normally, one would think everyone knows coffee is served hot,
except at MacDonalds, where a drive-through patron expects cold or lukewarm
coffee and, when she spills the hot liquid on her, and finds it to be hot,
has reason to sue.

Prior to the MacDonalds Hot-Coffee Incident, one would never think of
documenting the dangers of hot liquids, now every MacDonalds has a sign near
the take-out window warning patrons of this danger.

So, where's the high ground in this? Be prudent and document what you
believe to be the dangers of the normal use of the product.


Dennis Hays\The Burden Lake Group, Ltd.
Voice: 518/477-6388 Fax: 518/477-5006
eMail: dlhays -at- ix -dot- netcom -dot- com
"God doesn't want you to be certain.
That's why He gave you a brain."

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