Query: Disclaimers... to use or not?

Subject: Query: Disclaimers... to use or not?
From: "Geoff Hart" <geoff-h -at- mtl -dot- feric -dot- ca>
To: COPYEDITING-L -at- LISTSERV -dot- INDIANA -dot- EDU
Date: Thu, 11 Nov 1999 10:15:18 -0500

FERIC (my employer) does operational forestry research in
Canada, and we publish the results for our clients in the fond hope
that they'll use the results to improve their forest operations.
Because we want to remind readers that we're impartial when it
comes to our evaluations ("scientific objectivity"), and because we
want to protect ourselves from liability if someone follows our
advice carelessly and gets hurt or loses money or equipment as a
result, we've had to put various formal disclaimers in our reports.

My feeling has always been that if we don't exercise "due
diligence", and don't provide appropriate warnings directly beside
the instructions that might prove risky, no liability disclaimer is
going to save us from a lawsuit; if we do, then no lawsuit should
ever arise in the first place. As well, I've yet to see any research
agency (public or private) publish such disclaimers in their reports,
though admittedly my sample is small (a dozen or so organisations
similar to FERIC whose reports I could check in our library).

Now we're redesigning all our reports from the ground up, and we're
reconsidering what kind of disclaimer, if any, we need to include.
This is properly a question to ask a lawyer (and we will!), but I'd like
to provide the lawyer with a well-considered, well-researched
opinion first on what other organisations do, and why. So, to the
question: What types of disclaimers, if any, does your organization
use in its research (or related) reports?


--Geoff Hart, geoff-h -at- mtl -dot- feric -dot- ca (Pointe-Claire, Quebec)
"The [red] pen is indeed mightier than the sword:
you can obtain one anywhere, for next to no money;
you can legally carry one concealed, even in
jurisdictions that frown on concealed weaponry;
and it takes little skill learn to to wield a pen
as a weapon."--GH




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