Several people were seriously injured by flying glass resulting from the explosion of a
glass tank of water. Attorney Robert Raft represented two of the injured parties. He hired
engineer Victor Swift to investigate the cause of the accident. Victor's preliminary
determination was that the explosion most likely resulted from the presence of natural gas
in the water. If Victor was right, this would support a finding against Cooler, Inc.
However, the data did not warrant certainty. In court all Victor could testify is that the
hypothesis that natural gas was the culprit was probably true. Robert Raft lost the case
but decided he would appeal on behalf of his client.
Later Victor Swift recalculated and discovered he had been in error. The natural gas
hypothesis, he concluded, was highly improbable. He also learned that another engineer,
Sandra Burton, was hired by Robert Raft as he was preparing his appeal. Victor wondered if
he should volunteer his new analysis to either Robert or Sandra.
What do you think Victor should do? Explain. What relevant facts are presented? Discuss
any factual, conceptual, or application issues.
Victor Swift wrote to Robert Raft, explaining in detail his corrected estimate. Several
days later Victor received a phone call from Robert. "I can't believe you'd send me a
letter like this," Robert angrily shouted. "You took away my opportunity to
appeal! You could at least have had the decency to call me about this first. That would
have given me a chance to talk you out of it."
What should Victor say in reply? Does this angry call provide him with a good reason to
change his mind about whether he acted appropriately in sending the letter to Robert?