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can alarm company be grossly negligent selecting central station
February 10, 2018
can alarm company be grossly negligent selecting central station
    On February 1, 2018, you wrote,
    " Knowingly using inferior products and services that ultimately contribute to another's damages is close enough to gross negligence to raise concern.  It's one thing if you don't know, even if arguably you should know.  It's another thing to actually know and not care, or be willing to risk the safety of your subscribers because you were too lazy to make a move or motivated by your own financial interests.  
    So, do you think it's OK to use the cheapest central station if that central station is able to offer those prices because of it's sub-standard services?  Do you think you have met your responsibilities because you use an expensive central station, even though you know that the central station does not utilize the best central station monitoring practices?"
    I am not ready to publish an update to a case that SARRG has been defending for the last 5 years, but we recently got a Motion for Summary Judgment in favor of our insured.  When the plaintiff saw, 2 months ago, that they were headed toward losing, they amended their complaint to include that the alarm company was grossly negligent in picking the central station service provider. Of course we responded and denied the allegation, but it serves as a reminder that even when you have the best contract(s), and this company did not, hence five years of litigation so far, the plaintiff is always entitled to amend its complaint and that a claim of gross negligence, while the last resort, is up to the whim of the Court and if amended complaint prevails, a jury.
Bart A. Didden. Executive Claims Manager
Security America Risk Retention Group - SARRG
Security America Risk Purchasing Group LLC - SARPG
    It's rare to see a complaint against an alarm company that doesn't allege "gross negligence".  The Plaintiff's lawyer anticipates that the alarm contract will contract away liability for ordinary negligence, so no matter what the perceived wrongdoing, the Plaintiff's lawyer is going to label and characterize it as "gross negligence".   Since many alarm defense cases involve failure at the central station or with the monitoring aspect of the alarm service, claiming that the selection of the central station was, in and of itself, negligent, is not uncommon.  Of course making an accusation like that it quite different than proving it.  Not only would the Plaintiff have to prove that the central station was negligent, but that its selection in the first place was negligent, or grossly negligent.  The alarm dealer would have to have known what a poor job the central station did.  Though burden to overcome.
    Certainly central stations have different reputations.  All most likely have dealers who praise them, and others who denigrate them.  I'll take this opportunity to mention that all of the central stations listed on The Alarm Exchange are in the reputable category.  If they weren't reputable they would not be listed on The Alarm Exchange.  I've had complaints with a few, but they were resolved, at least to my satisfaction.  If your central station is not on The Alarm Exchange you should wonder why, and you should wonder why you are still doing business with it.  A listing on The Alarm Exchange adds another layer of protection to alarm dealers because they know that unresolved dealer complaints will lead to being de-listed.  
    Selecting your subcontractors, and that includes the wholesale monitoring company, is just as important as selecting the equipment you will install and the training you provide and expect from your employees.  If your focus is on the security and needs of your subscribers, first and foremost, then you are on the right path.  That doesn't mean that you don't need to protect yourself by using proper contracts and having appropriate insurance coverage, because that is the nature of the industry.  However, when you decide to use substandard equipment, provide substandard services and use substandard subcontractors, including the central station, expect to face claims.  Maybe you'll get to have a 5 year or longer relationship with your insurance company claims representative.


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Ken Kirschenbaum,Esq
Kirschenbaum & Kirschenbaum PC
Attorneys at Law
200 Garden City Plaza
Garden City, NY 11530
516 747 6700 x 301
516 747 6700