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Continued comment on Jeff Zwirn warning on operators working from home / follow up by Jeff Zwirn
September 15, 2022
Continued comment on Jeff Zwirn warning on operators working from home
             Jeff Zwirn is absolutely right on with his commentary.   in a prior response to the newsletter someone "poohed" the potential liability issue, but I think Jeff put it right in perspective; to make a material change in the service being offered and paid for and not notify the customer can certainly be construed as a material breach of the subscriber contract, not only with the installing company but also with the Central Monitoring company (presuming they have a separate contract with the subscriber which many of the major companies do have); the  impact of that could well be to invalidate the contract due to breach ( some might consider a material breach) by the security companies and thereby negate the contract, including the limitation of liability clauses;  a changing how a material service is being provided, especially without notifying the customer or even considering a reduction in the service charge, could readily be viewed as a "material" breach; by the way are new subscribers being advised of the company's new way of providing monitoring services? i.e. no longer at a secured facility but at someone's house? can they assure that aside from the monitoring employee (whose background we presume has been checked) no one else at the premise can access the computer?
            given the reduction in the quality of the service being performed, that could also lead to liability, licensing issues, etc under consumer protection and licensing laws; a change in practice due to the issue presented by the Covid pandemic, would I doubt be deemed an appropriate and sustainable reason for continuing this practice of making a significant change in the services provided, especially without notification to the end user.
            finally. I would suggest that if you have a webinar on this matter to present a more balanced picture that you invite some participants from the monitoring industry that still monitor at their central monitoring station such as Rapid Response; you might consider inviting Morgan Hertel, Vice President technology and innovation for Rapid Response and also the President of TMA( formerly CSAA).
Dennis Stern,Esq
Of Counsel to
Kirschenbaum & Kirschenbaum PC
            Sign me up for that webinar as this practice is of concern to many AHJs and why some AHJs are strongly considering remanding "Remote Station Monitoring" back to government operated facilities, i.e. ASAP to PSAP, MIY, Fire and Police Departments. 
John Drucker,
New Jersey
follow up by Jeff Zwirn 
            What can central stations learn about what happened where the plaintiff in this case was awarded a $9,000,000 verdict against Monitronics.
             Central Stations that are providing Work from Home Monitoring may not recall and/or even know about what happened in this case where Monitronics was found liable to the Plaintiff for $9,000,000! Additionally, the Defendant appealed the verdict, but it was upheld.
            In the Veasley v. Monitronics case, the Plaintiff homeowner was beaten and sexually assaulted by a perpetrator who broke into her home and hid inside. Monitronics Central Station Operators provided Ms. Veasley with misinformation about how many times and why her home alarm system had activated.
            The Monitronics Central Station Operator provided Ms. Veasley with inferences versus facts. As the Plaintiffs expert, my forensic analysis and investigation of this case revealed that Monitronics had created a scheme to put their profitability above the safety and security of their subscribers.  Imagine, if this case included a Work From Home Operator in the fact pattern.  In my opinion, there is no question that if someone had been monitoring this account from their home or apartment, it would have been even more inflammatory to the jury based on what the operator failed to do.
            Central Stations who are providing Work From Home Monitoring, and again without ever disclosing it to their subscribers, are not much different than what Monitronics decided to do by increasing their profits despite the increased risks to their subscribers.   
            “Those that fail to learn from history are doomed to repeat it.” Winston Churchill
Jeffrey D. Zwirn, CPP, CFPS, CFE, SET, FASI&T, CHPA-IV, MBAT, NFPA 3000(PS)
          Before we can have a "debate" we need someone, hopefully a central station or someone with one of the laboratories who have approved home based operators, to represent that side of the issue.  Jeff seems to have strong support for his position.  
          I feel like I have been playing devil's advocate on the issue, questioning whether working from home creates added liability exposure for central station operators, other than offering different and perhaps more distraction.  But I have heard about the available technology that can be used to support that working arrangement.  I don't recall a single central station coming forward to support the practice.  If no central stations are permitting work at home operators then I suppose there is no issue.  If there are such central stations then they should be willing to discuss the issue, if only for the exposure.  

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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