In my job, I have the pleasure, and unfortunately sometimes pain, of reviewing alarm sales and monitoring contracts for litigation, potential acquisitions, and revisions to contracts. Here are seven mistakes I see most often. Continue reading
If you’ve decided to enter the vibrant market of selling Personal Emergency Response Systems (PERS) you may be wondering what advice a lawyer would give you on how to protect your business. Do you need a contract with your customer? If so, what should it say? And are there any other special legal considerations for PERS? Read on to find out.
Yesterday, the Georgia Supreme Court denied Monitronics’ Petition for Writ of Certiorari. This means it has refused to review the Georgia Court of Appeals’ decision, which upheld an $8.4 million jury verdict against Monitronics and invalidated exculpatory language in Monitronics’ alarm contract. That Court of Appeals’ decision, which I wrote about last month (http://wp.me/p3fru5-8u), stands and is the law in Georgia.
This is a bad development for alarm companies in Georgia, and it could influence courts in other states when they are determining the validity of exculpatory contract language.
If your business is located in Georgia or does business in Georgia, you need to have an attorney review your contract to ensure the exculpatory language (i.e., limitations of liability and damages) is explicit, prominent, clear and unambiguous.
This is good advice for alarm companies in other states as well. Make sure your contracts contain plain language, not legal mumbo-jumbo. And make sure your limitations of liability are clear and prominent. Don’t hide them on the back page in a small font.
As I said in my previous post on this matter, you stand a better chance of having these limitations enforced in court if they are front and center, stand out from the rest of the contract, and are plainly written.
I have been in denial, but, given that it is October, and the weekend weather forecast for my hometown of Minneapolis is quite chilly, it seems I need to face reality: summer is over. So, then, is my summer vacation from blogging.
I will re-start blogging with the big-money case coming out of Georgia against Monitronics. The latest in this legal battle over millions of dollars is Monitronics’ attempt to get the Georgia Supreme Court to review the court of appeals’ opinion, which took Monitronics to task, invalidated its contract, and upheld an $8.4 million verdict against Monitronics.
The case epitomizes the saying bad facts make bad law. In case you missed hearing about it, here are the facts and more about the court of appeals’ opinion and Monitronics’ attempt at Georgia Supreme Court review. Continue reading
Georgia recently joined the growing ranks of states and municipalities that require enhanced call verification (ECV) for burglar alarm response. (Read Georgia’s new law here: Georgia ECV law).
If your jurisdiction requires ECV, or you are voluntarily adopting it, do you need to revise your contract? Continue reading
Two recent court rulings– one in Texas, one in South Carolina–underscore the importance of contract terms that will protect your business in case of a lawsuit. Does your contract have these vital terms? Continue reading
As I predicted when I first wrote about the Eli Lilly/National Union v. ADT case (http://wp.me/p3fru5-42), ADT has brought a motion to dismiss the lawsuit based on the subrogation waiver in ADT’s contract. Will the motion to dismiss be successful? Here is a look at how the court will analyze the subrogation waiver. And I have some tips you can take away for use in your own contracts. Continue reading
A client posed a question to me this week: are contracts enforceable when the customer signs via an installer’s or sales rep’s iPad? Yes, I responded, electronic signatures are valid under federal and most states’ laws. But, the follow-up question required more research– if a customer signs on the iPad, each customer’s signature will originate from the same iPad– the same IP address– so how do you prove that it was the customer that actually signed it and not the employee “robo-signing” (to borrow a term from the mortgage foreclosure crisis) contracts for his or her customer? Good question. Here is the answer. Continue reading
Every business in Minnesota that relies on liability waivers (this means you alarm companies!) needs to know that a proposed law is working its way through the Minnesota legislature to severely curtail the enforceability of such waivers. The proposed law would make liability waivers unenforceable for negligent conduct. Currently the law in Minnesota is that liability waivers are only enforceable for negligent conduct (but not for grossly negligent or willful and wanton conduct). Thus, if the law is passed, liability waivers may not be enforceable AT ALL. Before this law is passed, you need to take action to let your legislators know this law is a bad idea. NOW! Continue reading