Stanford University School of Engineering CE297: Geotechnical and 

Environmental Failures

Gallery of Geostrophic Wonders
(turn on your sound)

1.Deadly Gas (Or Just More Hollywood)?
2.Feel My Earthquake Pain!
3.Fountains of the Deep
4.The Uselessness of Elephants
5.There's a Tiger in Your Dam(need Quicktime)
6.Brendan Sexton Factors an Equation
7.Enjoy the Big One, Right Now(in progress)
8.Download Your Own Planetary System Here!

Preliminary  for Spring 2001

Causes and consequences of the failure of buildings, earth structures, waste storage, and high hazard facilities in contact with the environment; technical, ethical, economic, legal, and business aspects; failure analysis and forensic problems; prevention, liability, and dispute management. Case history approach based on the instructor's files including earthquake, flood, and hazardous waste facilities. Student observation, participation in active lawsuits where possible.

Spring Quarter 2001 Thursday 8:30 am 10:50 pm; Room Blume 540-108
Instructor: Richard Meehan Office Hours: Thurs. 10:50-12:00
Telephone: 323-0525 e-mail:

 Homework Assignment for this class
 Class Discussion Topic
 Thurs. 4/5  First Class (Note: Bold indicates cases available in the Terman Library) For a head start pick up and start to read Jonathan Harr's paperback, A Civil Action, and check out the website  on this case at Harvard. Introduction; Development of landforms; Rise of sea level, creation of estuarine lands, with urban society including kings, bureaucracies, corporations, and specialists; civil liability of business and government, including tort liability from negligence; statuary limitations and expansions; role of professions, privileges and obligations
 Thurs. 4/12 Criminal and civil liability; Prepare position for Whu Case (criminal liability); study handout on legal system; read first third Civil Action; writeups for Lakeshore Case (professional liability) and Gary Steel (settlement damage) Quiz ; discuss legal discovery process and cost; discussLakeshore Case and Gary Steel; Whu Case trial simulation.
 Thurs. 4/19 Urban infrastructure I; Second third  Civil Action; review and prepare brief summary of website of Vista Pacifica Case; prepare written summary of Brimmer Case (in glacial coastal terrain);  Ross store explosion discuss two assigned cases
 Thurs. 4/26 Finish Civil Action
Earthquake issues in the urban environment; Baldwin Hills land development issues
Field trip to  Lakeshore and Dunn sites; meet at parking garage 8:30 am Thurs
 Thurs. 5/3 Insurance coverage issues; Writeup Gibault, Cabigas, Fong ; Finish Civil Action Debate Gibault, Cabigas, and Fong cases; review earthquake sound simulations.
 Thurs. 5/10 Construction accidents: Writeup Artacad, Writeup Discovery Bay Case Urban foundation construction issues Groundwater, settlement, hazardous waste; Boston public library; debate Art Academy 
 Thurs. 5/17 Construction defects:Writeup Vista Park, Seeno Field trip; Menlo Park expansive soils; Portola Valley land planning and earthquake fault issues.
 Thurs. 5/24 environmental liabilities: Study and prepare for class debate, Canard Brothers Landfill Negotiation excercise in class
 Thurs. 5/31 Government liability flooding: Your instructor's sorry but useful experiences  in Thailand; Schnurle, Linda, Arboga, Pajaro Flood issues including geographic and engineering aspects; law of negligence and inverse condemnation as applied to government agencies.