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Jury Duty for an Engineer Katrin S is suing the PogiBear Snowmobile Company and an engineer for PippenCat Components for $750000 over her friends death He was killed while racing his snowmobile

Jury Duty for an Engineer

Katrin S. is suing the PogiBear Snowmobile Company and an engineer for PippenCat Components for $750,000 over her friend’s death. He was killed while racing his snowmobile through the woods in the upper peninsula of Michigan. Her lawyer, Ken, claims that her friend was killed because a tie-rod broke, causing him to lose control and crash into a tree, breaking his neck. While it was impossible to determine whether the tie-rod broke before the crash or as a result of the crash, the following evidence has been put forth. The tie-rod was originally designed and made entirely out of low-carbon steel (heat treated by case hardening) in three pieces, as shown in Figure CS-2 These tie-rods were subcontracted by PogiBear to PippenCat Components. PippenCat Components changed the material of the sleeves from steel to a heat-treated aluminum having the same ultimate tensile strength (UTS), value as the steel. They did this because aluminum sleeves were easier to thread than steel sleeves. It was further found that threads on one of the tie-rod bolts were not as completely formed as they should have been. The sleeve of the tie-rod in question was split open (fractured) and one of the tie-rod bolts was bent. Katrin’s lawyer further claimed that the tie-rod was not assembled properly. He claimed that one rod was screwed into the sleeve too far and the other not far enough, thereby giving it insufficient thread engagement. The engineer for PippenCat testified that these tie-rods are hand assembled and checked only for overall length and that such a misassembly was possible. In his summary, Ken, Katrin’s lawyer, stated that the failure was due to a combination of material change, manufacturing error, and bad assembly—all combining to result in a failure of the tie-rod. A design engineer for PogiBear testified that the tierods were ‘‘way overdesigned’’ and would not fail even with slightly small threads or misassembly. PogiBear’s lawyer then claimed that the accident was caused by driver failure and that the tie-rod broke upon impact of the snowmobile with the tree. One of the men racing with Katrin’s friend claimed that her friend’s snowmobile had veered sharply just before he crashed, but under cross examination he admitted that they had all been drinking that night because it was so cold (he guessed –20 to –30F). Because this accident had taken place more than 5 years ago, he could not remember how much they had had to drink. You are a member of the jury and have now been sequestered to decide if PogiBear and PippenCat are guilty of negligence resulting in death. The rest of the jury, knowing you are an engineer, has asked for your opinion. What do you think? Who is really to blame for this accident? What actually caused the accident?

 

Jul 01 2020 View more View Less

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