KEN KIRSCHENBAUM, ESQ
ALARM - SECURITY INDUSTRY LEGAL EMAIL NEWSLETTER / THE ALARM EXCHANGE
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signing counterpart copies of contract / ADT fire death case
February 7, 2019
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signing counterpart copies of contract
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Ken
    I am sending out a fire contract to a Tenants In Common situation. Four people own the same building and they all want to sign the contract. They have no specific property manager and want me to mail them each a copy. The guy I have been talking to suggested I write something about the contract can be signed in counterparts. So I Googled it. This is what I found. Will it work above the signature line? 
        "This agreement may be executed in any number of counterparts, each of which when executed and delivered shall constitute a duplicate original, but all counterparts together shall constitute a single agreement”.
Thank you,
Christine
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Response
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    That wording is fine. Signing in counterpart means that duplicate contracts are signed separately by one or more parties. Supposedly having such a clause can help to prevent another party from claiming the contract is not enforceable because it's not signed by all parties. 
    A contract will be enforceable against any party who signs. A contract would have to state that it is not effective until signed by all parties in order for someone who has signed it to claim it's not binding on that party. 
    I prefer getting everyones signature on the same document, but sometimes counterparts are unavoidable. Of course many contracts my clients have signed have the counterpart language, though I confess I don't typically use it in my agreements, and I do a lot more than alarm agreements. Bottom line, it can't hurt.
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ADT fire death case from January 26, 2019
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Ken, 
    I feel compelled to respond to this again. First of all your response about NFPA is not in the correct context, this was an intrusion alarm and the signals received were surrounding intrusion system event and had nothing to do with a fire alarm so none of this debate has anything to do with NFPA rules or standards.
    As to Jean Levenson you are missing key information which skews and clouds the typical response. The facts are that the “Tamper” signal that was received was an Ademco/SIA Contact ID E383. The SIA Contact ID is a Standard published by SIA (DC-05). Within in it the standard groups every code by type, as an example Codes that start with 100 are classified as Medical alarms, codes that start with 110 – 118 are classified as Fire alarms, 200’s are Fire Supervisory and the 130’s are classified as Burglary.
    In this case the code that was receives was in the 300 series which is classified as a “Trouble Condition” not in the 130’s which would have been a burglary signal that would have required a police or guard response. Trouble signals are meant to notify subscribers that there is something broken in the system and needs to be repaired not ever to have the PD dispatched,. ADT did what they were supposed to do and attempted to notify the subscriber and the call list.
    In fact there are five types of “tamper” conditions that are specified in the standard.
E137 Tamper, classified under Burglary Alarms
E144 Sensor Tamper, classified under General Alarm
E145 Expansion Module Tamper, classified under General Alarm
E341 Expansion Module Tamper, classified under System Peripheral Troubles
E383 Sensor Tamper, Classified under Sensor Trouble
    Standards are developed so that an industry or company can develop a product or set of services where predictable and repeatable results can occur, many systems I have worked on with will send in tamper events in the 300s range when the system in disarmed and will send in 130’s when its armed. This allows home owners to do things like replace batteries without the potential for a PD dispatch.       This is how the system was designed, approved by UL or others and this is how and why the transmission standard was developed (over 20 years ago I might add)
    Armchair quarterbacks are out of line to make comments like “our policy is to dispatch all tampers” because that flies in the face of published and accepted standards that everyone in the alarm industry counts on. The product and the central station performed exactly as they should of based on published, accepted and approved standards which is why ADT prevailed. Not to sound harsh but if the subscriber wanted fire protection they should have purchased a fire detection system or even better a fire sprinkler system.
    The next part of my rant is the proper use of police and first responder resources. This and other standards are developed so that we take into consideration the limited resources the police and fire departments have. The police should only be sent when all indications tell us that a crime has or is occurring. Sending the PD on trouble signals is not only a waste of resources it can potentially case harm to others. (some may remember when a central station sent the fire department out knowing the signal was not a real fire and the truck hit and killed a civilian driver, the alarm company lost that suite) or what if the PD was sent on an E383 as a burglar alarm when the homeowner was not expecting the PD to show up and an altercation ensued and either the homeowner or PD was killed or injured when the cover on a window transmitter was knocked off by accident. (I have a couple incidents like this)
    We all have to be educated and fully understand how alarm signaling works, we have to fully understand how panels and control equipment behaves, its simply too complicated to just assume or guess or hope someone else will take care of it.
  All the best.
Morgan Hertel
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Response
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    I'm not sure where all the confusion came from but the ADT alarm was a burglar alarm with no fire components. ADT was sued because of its puffing on its website about how protected its customers will be. 
    But Morgan makes good points and I thank him for his expertise.
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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
ken@kirschenbaumesq.com
516 747 6700
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