The decision in Monitronics should be a wake up call to everyone in the alarm industry. And once your eyes are open read the exculpatory and limitation of liability provisions in your contract [I know that assumes a lot - that you have a contract and that it contains those two provisions]. If you think it complies with all of the issues raised by the Monitronics case I respectfully submit that your are likely wrong. If you are in doubt then there is no chance the provisions are what you need.
Even the exculpatory and limitation of liability provisions in the Standard Form Contracts have been tweaked a bit to address issues raised by the Monitronics case. Why did I make the changes even though the Monitronics case is likely to be appealed and hopefully reversed? Because the same issues raised in Monitronics have been and will continue to be addressed in courts all over the country. Courts are looking for ways to impose duties on the alarm companies and avoid contract enforcement.
Let's deal with housekeeping first. As a result of the holding and discussion in the Monitronics case the Exculpatory Clause and the Limitation of Liability Provisions have been updated in the Standard Form Contracts. If you purchased contracts after July 17, 2013 [change was made July 19] you are entitled to the update free. If you purchased any contract prior to the Monitronics case in 2013 then you can contact our Contract Administrator Eileen Wagda at 516 747 6700 x 312 and get the updated provisions for $175. For those of you who still don't use the Standard Form Contracts I urge you to update your contracts today - get the All in Ones to make sure you have up to date contractual protection. There are 3 All in One contracts. Residential; Commercial; Commercial Fire
I have discussed my concerns with contract enforcement in many articles. The root of the issue is "bad facts make bad law". We have seen an erosion of enforcement for a variety of reasons, but we need to be particularly careful when the loss is the result of fire, and even more so when the damages involved are personal injury as opposed to property loss or damage. We need to be careful when the allegation of wrongdoing involve more than equipment failure, as it did in Monitronics. In fact, if you look at Monitronics you can see the perfect storm: crappy contract, service not equipment negligence, and personal injury.
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