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Re: [TCML] liability coverage was Re: Pole Transformers for sale

That's how it is in most states, as far as I know.  As a PE licensed in NM (civil, structural, construction) and TX (civil), I am not granted license to do everything under civil engineering.  But I also took and passed the tests in NM for a GB-98 (General Building) contractor license which requires a simple $10k bond.

I could easily wire a house, but am not licensed to do it.  I have done the electrical design on simple projects like remodels where we just changed loads around, etc.  I've also done limited wiring on projects, such as a centrifugal well at WSMR where three electricians from our sub couldn't figure out how to wire a simple lockout delay relay from the old panel into the new one.

Most states have a dollar limit under which any engineer can stamp anything they have sufficient experience in even though they aren't specifically licensed to design that discipline.

What's funny is that you can do work for the US Govt without a license, although many contracts are starting to require licensed engineers and contractors.  I've done a ton of work on military bases all over NM, at LANL, CBP, etc.  But we had a contractor license and of course professional liability insurance, bonds, etc.

One odd and irritating thing is that the bonding company charged us a higher rate on projects where we did the design and construction...

Nick A

From: Tesla <tesla-bounces@xxxxxxxxxx> on behalf of jimlux <jimlux@xxxxxxxxxxxxx>
Sent: Saturday, April 28, 2018 1:29:14 PM
To: tesla@xxxxxxxxxx
Subject: [TCML] liability coverage was Re: Pole Transformers for sale

On 4/28/18 10:25 AM, Edward Wingate wrote:
> David,
> The reason T&R quit selling to individuals is because they were
> threatened with a lawsuit. Why would they subject themselves to huge
> lawsuits for the profit on a single pole transformer when they can sell
> dozens at a time to entities who use them as intended....on top of a
> power pole, not as a power supply for a Tesla coil where the potential
> for an accident is high. Not to mention a use the pole transformer was
> never designed for. It has nothing to do with absurd or ignorant sales
> terms, it has to do with corporate well-being.
> Condenser Products stopped selling to individuals for the same reason,
> they were threatened with a lawsuit. I worked with them to get a TC line
> of capacitors, which was for naught after that happened.
> Bottom line is if an individual buys dangerous commercial products from
> a supplier who is willing to sell to them and gets hurt they need to
> lick their wounds and move on, not threaten litigation and ruin it for
> everyone else.
> It's called personal responsibility! A commodity that is currently in
> short supply.

Indeed, but sometimes, it's out of the original person's hands (i.e. the
dead or injured coiler) - Once the "bad thing" happens, and there's
insurance payouts (i.e. medical or life insurance), there's a sort of
"casting about for other sources of funds" on the part of the insurance

The coiler may have been perfectly happy to accept responsibility, they
probably even signed pieces of paper saying that.   But that doesn't
stop the filing of claims (or subsequent lawsuits) to try and recover
the costs incident to the event.   The cost to make the claim and
threaten the law suit is small, even if ultimately, the claim is found
to be unfounded.  But the company has to deal with it anyway (or, in
most cases, their liability insurance carrier deals with it).

This afflicts a lot of "dangerous activities" - people who provide
resources to such activities (horse riding instructors, for instance)
carry big liability policies, which might have small premiums, depending
on the *actual* loss exposure and the *number* of claims - The insurance
company has finely calibrated the cost to beat back unfounded claims and
the cost of actual damages - if you're in a field where claims are
common and payouts not, your premiums will reflect the cost to defend
the claims and get them rejected.

More to the point with a company like T&R - their liability coverage
might specify that they will defend claims from conventional customers
(utilities, electrical contractors), but not unusual customers (Joe off
the street).

Often, the "mark of trust" is possessing an appropriate business or
professional license. Or, a Seller's Permit (allowing you to buy and
resell, and collect Sales Tax)

For instance, around here (Southern California), there's a lot of
electrical supply places that will only sell to you if you have an
appropriate contractor's license (like a C10 (electrical), C-46(Solar),
or maybe a B (general building)) . Or, if you work it, you're licensed
as a Professional Engineer, but oddly, in California, having a PE
doesn't make it legal for you to do electrical work - I have a PE
license, and I can do designs and drawings, and I can supervise such
work, but I cannot actually perform the work.

As it happens, also, your liability insurance carrier might put the
kibosh on work that they view has unknown risk.  When last I looked into
it (about 15-20 years ago), my insurance carrier said that doing Tesla
coil designs and safety analysis did NOT fall within the area they felt
comfortable insuring.  So if I had a client who wanted such work done,
I'd have to work out some sort of contractual arrangement for them to
indemnify me against claims coming out of the work.

And I'd want to see that client entity have sufficient liability cover
for such things (kind of like being a "named insured") - the client
would send me a certificate from their insurance company saying "James
Lux, PE is covered for risks A, and B, and C under policy XYZ")  This is
actually a pretty standard thing - when I was in the effects business,
rental yards for stuff like bucket lifts and forklifts would require our
insurance company to send over a certificate identifying the rental
company as a named insured on our liability policy.

I would imagine ATTI and similar companies have spent serious time,
effort, and money getting suitable liability coverage (or having a
contractual way to solve the problem). You'll note that Jeff Parisse
(former TCML member) calls out "Risk Analysis and Mitigation" as a skill
set on his website. That's part of the commercial game - you've got to
have process and analysis and so forth pretty well nailed down to get
the insurance company to buy off.

Individuals typically will not have this ability - I suppose you could
go to your homeowner's company and get them to cover it.. people do it
when they do things like hire rental halls for a big party, but that's a
sort of known risk - there would be rules about dispensing of alcohol,
etc. - but for Tesla coils?

But, as a result, I would NEVER engage in professional consulting for an
individual interested in Tesla coiling.  I'm overjoyed to give advice
and opinions, but when it comes to putting a stamp or signature on a
piece of paper, that's only going to happen with a lot of other
paperwork around it.

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