Although I've never met Abigail, I'm pretty sure I speak for him (and most others) when I say we have not been similarly lucky. I remember nearly being fired when pointing out the deficiencies in a given design.
I don't know whether it is "luck", but I have succesfully
rejected specificiations. It was almost 6 years ago, and I
had just switched from the release management department to
the technology department. For my second project, I had to
implement "two-way replication", together with my cow-orker
Mark. Mark and I had just finished a course about replication, and we didn't have much experience yet. The
spec was written by Ruijin, a very capable programmer with
years of replication experience, and our CTO. Ruijin decided
to leave the company, which is why I had to do her work of
implementing the spec.
But in stead of sheeplessly implementing the spec (which would not have been hard as the spec was clearly written)
I decided to first study the problem, the constraints and
the spec. After a week I had not only a couple of testcases
that showed the spec would result in data corruption, I also
had a correct (but a far more complicated) way of solving the problem. I consulted Mark and another cow-orker and they
agreed with me. I went to the CTO, and told him that I thought the spec was wrong, and that there was a different
way of solving it. He pointed to the whiteboard and told me
to explain my case. I did, and afterwards, the CTO asked
Mark if he agreed with me. After Mark answered positively,
the CTO gave me the go ahead and I could implement my solution.