Category Archives: Monitoring

How Often Should A Security Alarm Company Update Its Alarm Contracts?

Ask the Attorney:  It feels like I just bought a new contract, but it’s actually been years ago. Is it still good? How often should I update my contract?

 Whenever I speak to at alarm company events, it never fails that someone tells me their contract is more than 20 years old! I hope you’re not in that boat.  It may seem self-serving coming from an attorney, but the law really does change fairly often, necessitating everything from minor tweaks to outright revisions. Not only do the laws on the books (statutes) change, but also every time a court case is decided involving an alarm company, there’s usually something to learn from it. It’s also important to pay attention to not just what’s happening in your state, but others as well, as those court cases can be persuasive in your state.   So, that’s my long way of saying, don’t wait 20 years—or even five. Best-case scenario, you should have a relationship with an attorney and regular (at least yearly) check-ins on changes or updates to your contracts. If you can’t stomach that, at least update your contract every two to three years.


Three important things to know about PERS contracts and sales.

file0001131383239If 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.

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Georgia Supreme Court denies review of $8.4 million verdict against Monitronics

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 (, 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.



Monitronics asks Georgia Supreme Court to Review $8.4 million judgment.

file000453200083I 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

Using enhanced call verification? You may need a new alarm monitoring contract.

file000640929717Georgia 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

Eli Lilly/National Union dismiss Connecticut suit against ADT/Tyco

Eli Lilly and its insurer, National Union, have pulled the plug on the lawsuit against ADT and Tyco, filed recently in federal court in Connecticut stemming from a $60 million pharmaceutical heist.  Did they dismiss the lawsuit because they settled out of court?  Nope.

Instead, Eli Lilly and National Union allegedly went looking for a more favorable jurisdiction  to get around a problem with Connecticut’s statute of limitations (the time within which the law says you must file a lawsuit).  They brought a new lawsuit in federal court in the Southern District of Florida, the location of ADT/Tyco’s corporate headquarters.  They also added some new allegations (fraud, misrepresentation, interference with contract) and added two individual defendants–Amed and Amaury Villa, the alleged perpetrators of the heist.  TycoIS (ADT’s new name) has, again, moved to dismiss the lawsuit.  Stay tuned.

Read the new complaint and TycoIS’s motion to dismiss: National Union v Tyco- SD Fla and National Union v Tyco- Mot to dismiss.

How ADT Security Services, Inc. v. Lisle-Woodridge Fire District could affect the future of alarm monitoring.

SONY DSCCompetition for alarm products and monitoring services is everywhere—the internet, big-box stores, new entrants into the market, and mergers of  mega-companies all threaten your business.   But could the place in which you conduct business be a threat to you too?   In a widely-watched legal case in the Chicago area, that’s what alarm companies have been fighting the last three years—a public entity trying to take over alarm services.  It’s a riveting battle that the alarm industry is winning, so far. Continue reading