One alarm co. is out $2.5 million. Could you be next?

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06/21/2010

panictime1

I came across this story in my Google Alerts back before ESX (during which time I was too busy to think much about it), and came across it again today in Ken Kirschenbaum’s email newsletter. Seeing it referenced again today got the story going through my mind once again.

Seems the integrator in question, Vanwell Electronics, was made aware by monitoring company, Criticom Monitoring Services, of a dysfunctional panic button tied into the security system a number of weeks and numerous times before the incident occurred. An employee, Kimberly Grajales, at the premises–a hotel–was attacked and injured. She pushed the panic button expecting help to arrive. None ever did. She’s now $2.5 million richer. CMS–who was not responsible for equipment upkeep and did not receive a signal–was dropped from her lawsuit.

I like the way Ken wraps up his coverage of the lawsuit:

remember you are in the life / safety protection business, so conduct yourself and your business with that in mind.

I mean, the panic button is a pretty important piece of the overall solution, especially in a business setting like a hotel where staff are required to be present and potentially exposed to risk and loss 24/7/365 (the story in NJ.com says the employee’s finger was almost bitten off… yuck.) If you, as the installer/maintenance contact can’t keep that particular, essential piece functioning, perhaps you deserve to fail to the tune of multi-millions.

 

Comments

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<p class="comment_author">June 22nd, 2010 at 8:39 am</p>
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<p>Hey Steve,</p>
<p>I admit those are good points, and not ones I had considered. Thanks for chiming in and offering a differing viewpoint. I agree about the hotel, as well.</p>
<p>Again, thanks for reading and commenting.</p>
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<div class="commentbody">
<p class="comment_author">June 22nd, 2010 at 8:19 am</p>
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<p>The Alarm Company screwed up, just as every other alarm company has screwed up in the past. Awarding $2.5 million for the failure of the panic button is litigation gone mad. Had the panic button worked, the incident would still have taken place and the person would still be without their finger.<br />
In my view, the employee should have sued the hotel for failing to insist the panic button be replaced. Just like the alarm company. they also knew it was faulty for X number of weeks before the incident.<br />
Due to this lunacy, the alarm company may have folded, leaving X number of staff out of work and possibly unable to support their families. They are the innocent victims here.</p>
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