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Subscriber who breached and terminated wants to reinstate

September 15,  2021
Subscriber who breached and terminated wants to reinstate
          We had a commercial fire alarm subscriber for whom we installed a building fire alarm and using the Fire All in One, contracted to perform inspection, repair service and monitoring.  Tenants moved into the building and installed their own fire alarm systems and wanted to connect to the building system, which we refused to permit.  The building owner asked us to cancel the Fire All in One and we reached a settlement, got paid for the early termination and terminated the contract.  Then the subscriber contacted us to reinstate our service and for us to take over the building fire alarm system.
          Can we decline to get involved at this point?
Name withheld
          It’s a tough decision to turn down work but you have to exercise your business judgment.  Companies like yours who are busy handling just about all the work you can handle have the luxury of not having your best business judgment clouded by greed.
          Alarm companies are not obligated to provide any service to anyone unless there is a contract imposing that duty.  In other words, there is no statutory [or moral or ethical] duty to provide your services unless you have a contract that imposes that duty.  Yes, you can be foolish enough to end up with a duty if you don’t have a contract and that’s because one who acts assumes a duty to act in a reasonable manner.  That’s why if you do work without a contract your duty will be defined by a reasonable standard, to be interpreted by a judge, rather than defined by contract terms which, at least in the alarm industry, will serve to limit your duty and your exposure.
          You were correct to refuse the connection of a foreign fire alarm to your system; there should be one fire alarm in a building.  You provided your service using the Fire All in One.  When the subscriber requested termination it was asking permission to breach the contract, which you agreed to, provided the subscriber paid you, which it did.  You are under no obligation to reinstate the contract and you are under no obligation to enter into a new contract with the subscriber. 
          If you wanted to renew the relationship the best course of action would be a new updated Fire All in One with a new 10 year term.

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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