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False alarm results in criminal and civil cases in Texas – homeowner shoots cop / webinar announcement
February 2, 2022
Announcing webinar series 2022.  Still time to schedule your webinar presentation.  Contact Ken Kirschenbaum to participate in our webinar 2022 series. 
Webinar Title:  Specialized financing techniques for the Security Alarm Industry
When:  Wednesday, February 9, 2022, at 12:00PM Eastern time
Topic Details: Financing option to grow equity without selling RMR accounts and no chargebacks, holdbacks, Recourse or Risk  Presented by: Tony Smith, President of Security Funding Associates (SFA)
Hosted by: Ken Kirschenbaum,Esq., 
Who should attend:  Company owners and CFOs
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Webinar Title:  what's new in the 2022 updated contracts
When:  February 15, 2022, at 12:00PM Eastern time
Topic Details: most important updates in the 2022 contracts
Presented by: Ken Kirschenbaum, Esq.  Kirschenbaum & Kirschenbaum
Who should attend:  Company owners, CEOs, Managers, sales personnel
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Webinar Title:  why use Disclaimer Notice and join Concierge Program
When:  February 16, 2022, at 12:00PM Eastern time
Topic Details: when, how and why to use Disclaimer Notice /  why you should join Concierge Program
Presented by: Ken Kirschenbaum, Esq.  Kirschenbaum & Kirschenbaum
Who should attend:  Company owners, CEOs, Managers, sales personnel
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Webinar Title:  common issues in buy-sell deals
When:  February 22, 2022, at 12:00PM Eastern time
Topic Details: common issues to consider in smaller buy-sell transactions
Presented by: Jesse Kirschenbaum, Esq.     Kirschenbaum & Kirschenbaum
Who should attend:  Company owners, CEOs, CFOs
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False alarm results in criminal and civil cases in Texas – homeowner shoots cop by Jesse Kirschenbaum, Esq.
          On the night of the incident the central station, Lydia Security Monitoring, ran an automated test of the alarm system.  In response to the test the system sent back an error signal which prompted central station dispatchers to dispatch the police.   Not even 90 seconds after the police were dispatched the central station ran a second test which showed the system was functioning properly.  For some reason the dispatchers did not notify the police that it was a false alarm and at no point did they notify the homeowner that police were dispatched.  With no alarm going off (in fact the alarm system was not even armed that night) and no reason to believe police were being dispatched to his home, the homeowner mistook the officers for burglars and shot one of the officers on the front porch as they were approaching.
          The murder trial of the homeowner for the 2019 shooting of a Texas police officer came to an end last month when the jury reached a not guilty verdict for the homeowner.  
          This story does not end with last month’s not guilty verdict as the cop’s family has filed a lawsuit against the homeowner seeking over $1 million.   The lawsuit claims that not only did the officers announce themselves upon arrival, but that the front porch of the home was equipped with night vision video security which the homeowner failed to view in order to identify the officers prior to firing shots at them.  The homeowner has filed a separate lawsuit against Bam’s Security, the alarm company that installed the alarm system, as well as against the central station Lydia Security Monitoring, which is the parent company of COPS Monitoring.  In his lawsuit the homeowner claims he had no reason to suspect police had been dispatched to his property and upon detecting the two officers approaching his property he believed the men were “burglars or worse.”  The verdict reached in the criminal trial will have no bearing on the civil lawsuits. 
Jesse Kirschenbaum, Esq.
Kirschenbaum & Kirschenbaum, P.C.
200 Garden City Plaza
Garden City, New York 11530
(o) (516) 747 - 6700 x. 329
(c) (203) 247-3362
          The criminal and civil cases raise interesting issues for the alarm industry.  A jury apparently found that the homeowner was not guilty of murdering the cop; it was an accident.  Of course the level of proof in a criminal case is proof beyond a reasonable doubt.  Not so in a civil case.  In a civil case the cop’s family will only need to establish that the homeowner was negligence – failed to exercise reasonable care – in shooting the cop.  The cop’s family will have a different jury, different judge and much different law to contend with than the District Attorney faced when prosecuting the homeowner.
          Interestingly enough, as reported above, the cop’s family sued only the homeowner, not the alarm dealer or central station.  They could have sued the alarm companies, but didn’t.  Good thing for them that they didn’t because they would have been faced with much different issues than they face suing only the homeowner.  Also, I suspect, had they sued the alarm companies the alarm companies would quickly take the position that nothing the alarm companies did gave license to the homeowner to shoot the cop. 
          So the homeowner decides to bring in the alarm companies.  I think that will not likely end well for the homeowner, though it depends on how the alarm companies decide to defend the lawsuit. 
          By the way, this is a good example, remote as you may think it is – and it isn’t – of the kind of lawsuits alarm companies face and whey they need to carrier insurance.  These lawsuits are expensive to defend, and you always run the risk of losing the case.
          Back to the alarm companies’ defense, it will be interesting to see how that plays out.  I know how it would play out if I were handing the defense, but I’m not, so the carriers and their house counsel are on their own.  No risk to the alarm companies since the claim is well within insurance coverage and more importantly I hope they have Kirschenbaum Contracts ™.

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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