A Virginia company is suing IBM for more than $1.4 million over the loss of a server that fell off a forklift during shipping. The company, T.R. Systems Inc., a federal contractor, blamed IBM for not packaging the server properly.

IBM said the company admitted that when the forklift’s wheels hit the concrete lip [at their warehouse entrance] the server rocked on the forks then fell off the forklift and over to the right side, striking the nearby concrete curb.

“No evidence exists that anything but [T.R. Systems’] negligence caused this accident.”


  1. Mister Mustard says:

    I’m just glad I’m not the forklift driver.

  2. George says:

    Was Ralph the School Bus Driver moonlighting?

  3. Samuel L Bronkowitz says:

    Just another example of people/companies not taking responsibility for their dumb actions…

  4. Steve says:

    I’m sure that since they don’t want to take responsibility for their actions right after the lawsuit they will be whining to the government to bail them out.

  5. flyingelvis says:

    once, in a previous life, i worked for a company that aquired two new ibm as400’s. The old as400’s had to be taken to the shipping dock so that the company that purchased the servers could pick them up. So, I grabbed an intern and we placed the servers on a rolling cart and pushed them, one at a time, across the plant, down the drive, and to the shipping building. Fun stuff, knowing that we were one slip away from disaster.

  6. wilbur says:

    why was he carrying the server 8 feet in the air? as soon as he backed away from the truck, it should have been lowered.

  7. ethanol says:

    I work extensively with IBM AS/400 (iSeries, Series i) servers and the packaging actually has a tip sensor in it so when the customer receives the pallet(s) it arrives on they will know if the shipping company moved it past the degree of tilt that is acceptable to IBM and refuse shipment… Never heard of a situation like this before.

  8. Daniel T says:

    Why is this news again? The comment from ethanol is correct, to ensure tilt proof shipping at destination, but I’m sure this is not the first time fork lift drivers have made large mistakes. Won’t be the last time.
    Someone must carry insurance for this accident, most likely at the end, a new server will arrive as a replacement.

  9. Raff says:

    We build cases for these type of servers for Intel and H.P and Qualcomm.

    You wouldn’t believe some of the dumb things shippers and freight movers do. We get cases back that have forklift holes punched in them all the time. They put those forks through plasma t.V.s and servers all the time.

    One of the best ones was a driver who had opened his back doors before backing down in ramp to the loading dock. As soon as he hit the incline 20 empty server rack cases went rolling out the back of his truck..

    Whoops!!! Good thing they were empty.

  10. Don says:

    So now computer companies have to design shipping containers that can withstand an 8 foot fall onto a curb on it’s side.

    The shipping container would cost more than the computer.

    This is idiotic, and the company should have to pay IBM’s legal costs.

    IBM wont even look at the server because once it takes a hit like that, it can NEVER be used in a mission critical application. There could be internal cracks on the circuit boards or solder connections that may not manifest themselves until months down the line.


  11. framitz says:

    While working in the Air Force at a special facility we were receiving delivery of a very special and sensitive piece of heavy electronics equipment. There were only three of these items in the entire world.

    The fork lift was on the loading dock with the equipment and the door was open. There was a lip at the door so the driver decided to turn around and back in to prevent tipping. He got turned around but accidently moved forward toward the edge of the dock. He hit the brakes and the equipment tumbled off the forklift and off the dock to concrete 4 or 5 feet below. The equipment was totally destroyed, and I mean totally. We had to ‘demillitarize’ the equipment before we could dispose of it.

    Fortunatly the item being delivered was a spare, because it was not replaceable and we managed to keep the one we had operating untill it was decomissioned.

  12. bobbo says:

    I hadn’t heard of the “tip sensor” before, makes sense though.

    I’d also think that “someone:==either IBM, the Insurance Co’s, the shippers?, would recognize “high value sensitive cargo” and have it physically accompanied by a trained and experienced HUMAN BEING to avoid all these simple things? IBM in fact in a cosmic sense is negligent not to have contract boiler plate regarding this type of situation in their original sales contract?==ie, the adviso of taking special care during shipping???

    The fact that there isn’t does make me think this sort of thing doesn’t happen that often, but that strikes me as an incorrect assumption as well? MONEY, or the market, is supposed to correct for/manage all these things—given enough time?

  13. OhForTheLoveOf says:

    #13 – Wow! That’s both brilliant and stupid at the same time.

  14. Kaboom says:

    … then, there’s this classic piece:


  15. Kaboomski! says:

    Perhaps a little smaller…


  16. Doh says:

    Nope, the image embedding doesn’t work for non-editors…

    Here’s the pic: http://www.rabidsquirrel.net/funny2/forklift.jpg

  17. Ralph, the School Bus Driver says:

    I’ve seen similar instances many times in my life. 95% of the time the forklift operator is blamed while the actual reason is the inadequate/damaged facilities, poor/undersize equipment, inadequate/broken equipment, and lack of proper training.

    Of course it is always easier and quicker to blame the operator than the fact that corporate doesn’t want to buy a proper size forklift, fix the broken ramp, install proper lighting, fix the leaking hydraulics, or take the time to train the operator.

  18. Don says:

    But if the mope forklift operator was driving around with a 1.4 million dollar computer 8 ft in the air……

    Cmon, that’s just plain stupid, and he deserves to be fired.

    That company should also fire their dumbass lawyer that thought they could get money out of IBM after they destroyed their new server. Now they look like a bunch of incompetent boobs and it’s being spread all over the net. To bad the Feds can’t fire them for being stupid.


  19. libertas says:

    I remember many years ago watching out of my office window while a large IBM machine was about to be offloaded from a truck. It was a confined space so the forklift took the unit off the truck, put it down and then backed away to pick it up from the other side after the truck had been moved. The forklift operator put the fork right through the side of the package while trying to pick it up again. They just put it back on the truck and drove it away.

  20. Ralph, the School Bus Driver says:

    #6, wilbur,

    why was he carrying the server 8 feet in the air? as soon as he backed away from the truck, it should have been lowered.

    Where do you get the idea he was carrying it 8 feet in the air? It sure wasn’t in the article. In fact, as I pointed out in #18, the facilities and equipment were deficient.

    The forklift carried the server 30 to 40 yds from the truck to the warehouse. As he was driving over entrance the lip caused the forklift to tip. Apparently the pallet the server was attached to broke causing the server to fall onto the ground.

    The court will determine if the cause of the accident was the fragility of the pallet, the route the driver took, or a combination of the two. To suggest the driver is an idiot because he had the server 8′ in the air is disingenuous.

  21. OmarTheAlien says:

    The receiver (we call them consignees in the freight business) screwed the pooch. A simple rachet strap would have held the freight secure while walking the lift across the yard. And why, I wonder, can an outfit that can afford a million dollar server not have a loading/unloading dock?

  22. Ralph, the School Bus Driver says:

    #22, Omar,

    Obviously I don’t know the details of this specific case. Many times the cargo is loaded on a flat bed and must be off loaded from the side. This is due to the size or configuration of the load.

    I have never seen or heard of using a strap to fasten palletized cargo to the forklift. If that is required than it would be because the forklift is too small for the load.

    I suspect the center of gravity wasn’t marked on this container. It was also oversized and off center loaded. The operator would have picked it up in the center. When he hit the bump, the already lop sided load added more stress to the pallet. Either because of the excess stress, shoddy workmanship, or bad wood, the pallet broke. This happens quite often only not with $1.4 million loads.

  23. Anonymous Coward says:

    Man, talk about a forklift upgrade – I thought those days were over.

  24. James says:

    Gear up for grub with a tripleheader of pigskin, including a meeting of brothers in Dallas. Everybody knows it’s been a rough year for her, but find out who else had issues


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