April 19, 2004

More Lawsuit Goodness

Okay, because only like three people read this anyway, and because pete asked, here is our little write up of what happened. The teachers want this to be like the real world so pretty much anything that goes in the real world goes here, well at least one of the profs (Dr. Adams) thinks this way, and he is the one that is encouraging the group to sue us. The part that was funny is that when we say "Charles overheard" that means charles was sitting right behind the group at Bangkok Cuisine listening to everything that was said between the group and Dr. Adams and they didn't even realize it, even when i called my group and explained what was happening right as they were saying, and this proved incredibly useful. Also, we are thinking of counter suing since the lawsuit is frivolous, sue them for 1500 points, see how it feels (does anybody know any law students or lawyers?). Lastly, apparently the reason they are doing this stems in part (maybe large part) from the fact that Dave (the president of our group) borrowed the truck of one of the other group's members when his car was in the shop, and returned it trashed out and with a dent. I am inclined to believe that this is the truth, and that Dave really owes the guy for this, but this seemed like a bad way to deal with that.


With regard to the lawsuit recently levied against WTM Enterprises by Perpet U Lite Inc., we see this as an act to profit on someone else’s success and a frivolous attempt to coat-tail their way to a good grade.

This whole situation began shortly after we were informed that WTM Enterprises had been chosen to represent the University of Nevada, Reno at the NCIIA conference in San Jose. We were informed of this obligation on the same day which we received our parts, and with only twelve days to complete our project. On May 14, after spending all day working on our project, most of our group (including Glenn, Jeff, myself and Mark Jaillet, who had been helping us most of the day) joined Robert Miller and Tim Lindgren for dinner. As dinner continued Tim asked us about our progress on the project, we told him of some of the problems we had run into. Tim offered as a friend to help us out the next day.

The next afternoon, we gave him a call about 5:00pm and told him that we were in the need of some help and he came over to look at the circuit. We were having problems driving our relay in the way our circuit was designed. Tim quickly pointed out that we just need a simple power amplifier, which consisted of little more than a BJT. As described by him this was “a common solution,” and that anyone with electronics experience would have been able to come up with it. After working for a couple of hours we called it a night and Tim offered to help us more the following day, Tuesday, May 16th.

On May 16th, after meeting with Dr. Kleppe, I contacted Tim and he let me know that he had spent the day reworking our design. This was a bit unexpected because we had only asked him to help us out with our relay problem and he had taken it upon himself to work out some of the other problems we were having. Although, this work was unasked for, it was obviously greatly appreciated, and I made it very clear to him that we were in his debt for this help. I then told him that towards the end of the semester our team would see to it that he was taken care of for his work, however there was no mention of points at this time.

At about 4:30, I met with Tim at his house and we took a trip to Sandies Electronics. We purchased some equipment and returned to his place. When we returned to his house, he began working on the antenna and box for his design, I helped where I could, but because I have no experience he did all the machining himself He informed me that he would be meeting with his group at about 6:00 and that we could finish work after his meeting. I believe it was about 8:00 when their group meeting finished. Robert Miller and Nick Ouart stuck around and continued to do some experiments on their project, while the rest of their team left. Tim showed me how to do wire wrapping and I set to work putting the logic portion of the circuit, while he began setting the receiver on a copper ground plane. Nick and Robert left between 10 and 11. Tim and I worked through the night to finish the job. Tim had very exacting standard through out the night, and did most of the work because of my inexperience in the field that we were working in.

At 6am the following morning we finished the circuit and tested it by hooking an LED and making sure that it worked as we had planned. At this point I returned home and got ready for the day, since WTM Enterprises had a press conference in which we were to display our project. At 7:45am, I returned to the school to test our circuit on the garage door unit itself. The garage door motor quickly burned up after connecting the circuit to it. I immediately called Kent and told him that we no longer had a garage door opener. He made a quick call to Thompson Garage Doors and by 9:00am we had another working garage door opener. We decided not to hook of Tim’s circuit to the garage unit, because we feared that we would burn up a second motor and we would be unable to show our product. Based on advice from Dr. Kleppe, we decided to “Tucker it” by having one of our group members hide the remote control in his pocket and press the button at the appropriate time. We did not see a problem with this for two reasons. First of all Dr. Kleppe told us to do it, and two, we were showing the idea of our product, not whether it worked or not.

At that point, there had still been no discussion of how many points Tim and his group would receive for Tim’s work on our project, although there was a verbal agreement that WTM Enterprises would help Perpet U Lite out with some point near the end of the semester. The members of WTM Enterprises are very thankful for the help Tim gave us, but we would like to stress that a large part of his help was not directly asked for. We simply asked him to help us with our relay problem and he volunteered to help in more ways.

The first mention of points came on Friday, April 2, when I was approached with a bogus contract that required a minimum of 500 points, which amounts to 5% of the total grade in the class. Furthermore, they called for a penalty of 100 points a day for a multimeter that Tim had let us borrow for the San Jose trip that we had neglected to return. We returned the multimeter that day and said we would discuss the point transaction further among our team. We then approached Dr. Kleppe and briefed him on the situation, he advised us to wait to the end of the semester, since at this point only half of the total points for the class had been assigned. We informed Perpet U Lite of this decision.

The next we heard of this situation was on April 16. Charles had over heard a conversation between the Perpet U Lite team and Dr. Adams, in which Dr. Adams advised Perpet U Lite not only to go after us for the 500 point they originally called for, but to raise the total to 750 points or to sue for 1500 points if we refused to comply. This quantity of points is absolutely ridiculous and is reminiscent of all numerous frivolous lawsuits that have been choking the justice system in this country since the early ‘90s. We believe that 200 is a reasonable amount of points for the work performed by Tim and will not give any more point to Perpet U Lite unless the are willing to discuss the amount in question with us in a dignified way, rather than demanding a large portion of the grade that WTM Enterprises has worked for over the past few months. I further want to point out that Perpet U Lite never offered to negotiate the amount of point and that no exact amount had not been mentioned until the letter WTM Enterprises received on April 2. Also, I would like to mention that this large amount of points is in no way necessary to the team because, as admitted by one of their teammates they have above a 90% in this class and since it is not possible to receive an A+ they currently have the highest grade they can receive at an A. Furthermore, this preposterous amount of points would drop WTM Enterprises into the B range and put them at more that 100% at this point in the class.

Posted by cmorton at April 19, 2004 05:33 PM | TrackBack

Wow - all that for one class? This better be SOME degree you're getting. Ben Johnson is going to be a lawyer - talk to him. He's also captain of the debate team :-)

Posted by: Jamie on April 19, 2004 06:59 PM

As my friend Oli would say: "That's whack, son."

Wow, and there's a professor supporting this nonsense? What the hell?

Posted by: Petar on April 20, 2004 06:11 PM
Post a comment