Wednesday, August 29th 2007

IBM Being Sued After $1.4m Server Falls off Forklift

Yet another crazy American lawsuit seems to be on the cards as federal contractor T.R. Systems Inc. attempts to sue IBM after a $1.4 million IBM server fell from a forklift truck during transit. According to T.R. Systems, the rear wheels of the forklift being used to move the server hit a raised surface, causing the server to rock slightly and break the pallet holding it, resulting in the server falling onto the curb and being damaged. In the court documents, T.R Systems said "The damages sustained by T.R. Systems were due to the poor workmanship and/or defective packaging design and methods used by IBM to pack the servers prior to shipping." However, IBM has already filed a motion with the court asking for the case to be dismissed claiming that the accident was down to the forklift truck’s driver, stating "No evidence exists that anything but [T.R. Systems'] negligence caused this accident." Now T.R Systems is now trying to claim more than $1.4 million in damages as it was forced to buy a new server after IBM refused to take the server back to its facility for testing.Source: COMPUTER WORLD
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43 Comments on IBM Being Sued After $1.4m Server Falls off Forklift

#1
jtleon
Good Responses Newtekie1...Enjoyed the discussion...

newtekie1 said:
I don't now many good operators that wouldn't ask for assistance in travelling that distance due to the visability issue, or do it in reverse looking out the back of the forklift(this seems to be the case since it claims he backed over the eneven ground causing the tip).

However, this raises a new issue, perhaps he had it raised so high so that he could see under it? I know a lot of rookie forklift operators tend to do this.
I would also gamble that the operator may have not taken the time to move his forks apart to the maximum possible width, if the pallet did not have single width fork holes. However, if this was a palletized crate, most likely IBM would have put the fork holes at the best locations for tipping stability.

Hal7000, did your server crates have small width fork holes or large width slots?

Regards,
jtleon
Posted on Reply
#2
newtekie1
Semi-Retired Folder
Very good points

jtleon said:
I would also gamble that the operator may have not taken the time to move his forks apart to the maximum possible width, if the pallet did not have single width fork holes. However, if this was a palletized crate, most likely IBM would have put the fork holes at the best locations for tipping stability.

Hal7000, did your server crates have small width fork holes or large width slots?

Regards,
jtleon
I would bet on that also. Had the forks been as far apart as possible the server probably wouldn't have tipped over.
Posted on Reply
#3
InfDamarvel
If you buy million dollar hardware then I would expect you to take any precautions no matter how horrid the packaging is. Maybe they could have possible strapped it down if they care so much about it. Or maybe took another path instead of going over a bump with a server 8ft in the air. Idiots.
Posted on Reply
#4
HAL7000
jtleon said:
I would also gamble that the operator may have not taken the time to move his forks apart to the maximum possible width, if the pallet did not have single width fork holes. However, if this was a palletized crate, most likely IBM would have put the fork holes at the best locations for tipping stability.

Hal7000, did your server crates have small width fork holes or large width slots?

Regards,
jtleon
They were exact sized and spaced to accommodate any fork lift/ pallet jack on site.(small) They were configured and balanced to accommodate the load. They were also built very sturdy and were over braced. They were like small sheds made from 3/4 inch plywood and 2x4 framing. "Screws and bolts". The server was bolted to the pallet/crate as well making it one with the server. No room for screw ups ...I am sure IBM does the same thing.
Prior to shipping, there should have been specs on the shippers(IBM's) end that would clarify handling upon receiving(T.R's) end. This would (should) protect IBM from any liability for mishandling upon receiving.
Bottom line, the fork lift driver most likely did not extend the blades to the out side of the load nor did he carry the load resting on the back of the lift itself for stability(slight tilt backwards), and most likely carried the load to high thus when he road over uneven ground the load shifted/rocked due to improper handling on the receivers (T.R's) end, The forklift operator is the most likely suspect here based on what has been shared in the forum.

Uhh..does anyone got a dollar I can borrow.....need to collect 1.5 million before the weeks end......:twitch: I pity the forklift operator. :banghead:
Posted on Reply
#5
WarEagleAU
Bird of Prey
This boils down to the basics here...the forklift driver wasnt careful nor was he practicing safe operating procedures. This is stressed heavily in my job where I work, that safety and common sense and being cautious is to your advantage. Far too often, drivers become complacent and figure they have been driving for awhile so there is no need to be cautious. I hope IBM gets the 1.4 million dollars.
Posted on Reply
#6
yogurt_21
I'll be damned, a civil argument on tpu. wow. I think I'll save it and mount it on my wall. lol
Posted on Reply
#7
Jizzler
Woooo... thankfully I've never had to move million-dollar pallets.

We do product sampling, so it's usually a couple hundred pounds of cereal or the latest candy bar :)
Posted on Reply
#8
Chewy
totally on the driver.. damm if the company spent 1.4mill on an item they should of had better safety measures not just have some incautious forklift driver go grab it and move it in, but ofc that driver said it wasent his fault and the bump was a small transition, making the thing just topple over.. therefore it is IBM's fault.

forklift drivers job is to see things before they happen, as in planning out your track and seeing any problems that may incur. Im sure seeing the scene will really tell how much of a "bump" he had ridden over... he shouldnt have to ride over any "bumps" when moving such an expensive piece of equipment, but thats what happens when you rush things!
Posted on Reply
#9
Steevo
spootity said:
ohhh yeah and also, guys who are saying you just fucking drive up into the trucks with a forklift, all i have to say to that is the trucks cant handle that shit if its anything over 3,000 lbs, thats one reason ups doesnt ship on pallets and use forklifts to pick them up. trucks hold tens of thousands of lbs but not in a 4 foot wide by 6 feet long spot in the trailer, it just cant hold that shit without breaking something, now that being said im not saying they never use forklifts, they do on the roller trucks, only sometimes tho, and even than the forklift doesnt go into the truck, it stays at the edge while you roll the pallet out onto the forks.
We have a 12,000 lb lift Hyster at work that I have driven up into trucks to unload. It weighs 9 tons roughly. How would they get a forklift to a customer if not for a truck? And they roll the pallet onto the forks? What sort of machine has the capability to stay inside of a semi truck and roll a pallet of 5,000lbs onto forks outside of the truck? You could use a pallet dolly, but that doesn't roll it onto the forks of the recieving forklift.

http://www.hysteramericas.com/products/ic_pneumatic/5icpneumatic_h135_155FT.asp


How about a machine that weighs in at 65,000lbs dry? How do they move that? Trucks. Think about it.



It was the forklift operators fault.


1) The truck was rocking. This denotes a undersized machine for the job.
2) He was moving with the load still lifted. This is highly unsafe and one of the first things you learn when certified to drive one, low load.
3) When moving a load that obstructs your view you always use a spotter.
4) With a undersized machine his forks would not have the proper spread or penetration depth into the pallet, thus causing instability and a lack of feeling. :wtf:



From what I have been told by FedEx Freight when they open the door and produce the material for inspection and unloading it becomes the liability and responsibility of the recipient. If it is damaged you do not unload the material, or if you are willing to accept the material you must force the driver to note it before unloading.




For one I bet the guy doesn't have his job anymore.
Posted on Reply
#10
AsRock
TPU addict
Maybe TR should invest on a smoother ground even more so when your talking expensive stuff like this.
Posted on Reply
#11
FR@NK
newtekie1 said:
perhaps he had it raised so high so that he could see under it? I know a lot of rookie forklift operators tend to do this.
After reading the link in the op it sounds like the server fell off the side of the pallet then down off the side of the dock 8ft. I doubt the operator had the server raised 8ft up but you never know :/
Posted on Reply
#12
Wile E
Power User
Steevo said:
We have a 12,000 lb lift Hyster at work that I have driven up into trucks to unload. It weighs 9 tons roughly. How would they get a forklift to a customer if not for a truck? And they roll the pallet onto the forks? What sort of machine has the capability to stay inside of a semi truck and roll a pallet of 5,000lbs onto forks outside of the truck? You could use a pallet dolly, but that doesn't roll it onto the forks of the recieving forklift.

http://www.hysteramericas.com/products/ic_pneumatic/5icpneumatic_h135_155FT.asp


How about a machine that weighs in at 65,000lbs dry? How do they move that? Trucks. Think about it.



It was the forklift operators fault.


1) The truck was rocking. This denotes a undersized machine for the job.
2) He was moving with the load still lifted. This is highly unsafe and one of the first things you learn when certified to drive one, low load.
3) When moving a load that obstructs your view you always use a spotter.
4) With a undersized machine his forks would not have the proper spread or penetration depth into the pallet, thus causing instability and a lack of feeling. :wtf:



From what I have been told by FedEx Freight when they open the door and produce the material for inspection and unloading it becomes the liability and responsibility of the recipient. If it is damaged you do not unload the material, or if you are willing to accept the material you must force the driver to note it before unloading.




For one I bet the guy doesn't have his job anymore.
I'm guessing spootity is referring to 48' or 52' enclosed trailers. And some of those trailers do have rollers in the floor, so you can roll a pallet to the tail for a lift to pick up.

That said, I'm a fork operator also, and even the enclosed trailers can handle a 3000lbs fork truck. Our trucks are electric, and weigh about 2500-2700lbs (lead acid batteries = teh heavy), and it regularly exceeds 3000lbs with a load on it.

But, more to the real topic, I, myself, have unloaded IBM servers for my job, and I can attest to the fact that they come in a crate more sturdy than my house. I never dropped one. We don't exactly have a perfectly flat or debris-free dock either. This is all operator error. For an uneven piece of pavement to cause a tip-over, the guy had to either have the load too high, or he was absolutely flying with that server.
Posted on Reply
#13
jtleon
More info on the lawsuit claims

I found this, this AM.

T.R. Systems claims IBM refused to take back the damaged server or send technicians to inspect or repair it. As a result, the company claims it was forced to purchase a replacement server from IBM following the October incident. The server was ultimately bound for T.R. Systems' customer the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office.

In its lawsuit, T.R. Systems claims its own clumsiness isn't to blame for the server's destruction. "The damages sustained by T.R. Systems was due to the poor workmanship and/or defective packaging design and methods used by IBM," the company argues in court papers.

T.R. Systems says IBM failed to pack the server into a palletized crate "that was strong enough to support the substantial height and weight of the server." Court papers do not specify an IBM server model number.

In a statement, IBM officials said "we will defend ourselves vigorously" in the case. The company declined to elaborate or discuss details of its shipping policies.

T.R. Systems is seeking damages in excess of $1.4 million.


http://www.informationweek.com/news/showArticle.jhtml?articleID=201802399

My guess is, IBM doesn't sell very many $1million servers - they may have had no palletized crates designed for the added weight/dimensions/top heavy nature of such a server.

Their standard palletized crate was probably designed for their more popular $250,000 server design.

Regards,
jtleon
Posted on Reply
#14
Steevo
IBM e servers are very expensive, and they sell a whole hell of alot more of them than most people think. A friend works for a few hospitals in Florida, three tie togeather and use a set of tandem servers that run 90% of the systems. They cost well over a million each. We are currently looking at a small 520 server, it only costs $27,000.00. It is about 2X the size of a large PC case.
Posted on Reply
#15
Chewy
Wile E said:

But, more to the real topic, I, myself, have unloaded IBM servers for my job, and I can attest to the fact that they come in a crate more sturdy than my house. I never dropped one. We don't exactly have a perfectly flat or debris-free dock either. This is all operator error. For an uneven piece of pavement to cause a tip-over, the guy had to either have the load too high, or he was absolutely flying with that server.
^^ I doubt it was really defective packaging.. Im sure they use the same packaging for thier million $$ servers... but you never know, cant make something perfect 100% of the time :P
but even than if the packaging was not perfect Im sure it would handle the server under normal circumstances for sure!
Posted on Reply
#16
HAL7000
jtleon said:
I found this, this AM.

T.R. Systems claims IBM refused to take back the damaged server or send technicians to inspect or repair it. As a result, the company claims it was forced to purchase a replacement server from IBM following the October incident. The server was ultimately bound for T.R. Systems' customer the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office.

In its lawsuit, T.R. Systems claims its own clumsiness isn't to blame for the server's destruction. "The damages sustained by T.R. Systems was due to the poor workmanship and/or defective packaging design and methods used by IBM," the company argues in court papers.

T.R. Systems says IBM failed to pack the server into a palletized crate "that was strong enough to support the substantial height and weight of the server." Court papers do not specify an IBM server model number.

In a statement, IBM officials said "we will defend ourselves vigorously" in the case. The company declined to elaborate or discuss details of its shipping policies.

T.R. Systems is seeking damages in excess of $1.4 million.


http://www.informationweek.com/news/showArticle.jhtml?articleID=201802399

My guess is, IBM doesn't sell very many $1million servers - they may have had no palletized crates designed for the added weight/dimensions/top heavy nature of such a server.

Their standard palletized crate was probably designed for their more popular $250,000 server design.

Regards,
jtleon
umm....I think that if I was IBM and shipping a server, and have been for some time...that the designers of the crating systems have a "designed specific" crate for each server cabinet. They are not "one size fits all".

Plus T.R. as a purchaser would stipulate in the contract that the proper shipping crate be use prior to shipping. Thus an IBM inspection prior to the packaging and shipping would take place. Everyone wants to protect themselves.

Upon delivery,T.R. inspects the shipment, signs a release slip and then accepts and assumes full responsibility for the movement of the cargo.
This happened after T.R. removed the crate off the truck, and in transit it fell off the fork due to uneven ground....If they moved the server with proper protocol, it would have been a team that moved it slowly into the facility. Not just a forklift driver.

Can you imagine the IT guys waiting to install the server just sitting inside waiting....NOT happening...they are out there helping move or telling the forklift driver to take it easy....they know $$$$$$$ what it is being moved. There is nothing said about this, so I assume the driver of the forklift was alone and T.R. f++ked up.
dam must have been some good size pothole, GET THE "CAMERA" (IBM)....or fill it quick (T.R.)...If a curb, well it sounds like a evening delivery or a rookie driver, or just a careless driver of the forklift.
Posted on Reply
#17
Unregistered
it's tr's responsibility. is it really too far out to assume that they NEEDED the server, and spending cash on another one would have made them bankrupt? well, they very well can't get the money out of the forklift operator. so, they sue the manufacturer. also, my father worked in the die-cast industry for fourty years, before it went to china. he was required to keep a forklift operators permit, or whatever it's called, although he never actually had to use it. it was mandatory for all employees, so that if many parts came in at once, they could get them off the trucks quicker. now, he worked at a division of magna, which is a LARGE company. i've never heard of TR, so i'll assume that they are not a large company. is it too far out to assume that the forklift operator was undertrained, had just come off vacation and was under-practiced, or was a back-up who had very little experience?
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#18
Ketxxx
Heedless Psychic
Lets back up for 2 seconds to what has to be the most interesting thing to note; Why the hell did the forklift operator feel the need to transport a server 8 feet in the air? It takes s special kind of retarded stupidness to do that.
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