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.