Yesterday we proposed 5 scenarios where false alarms exposed alarm companies to liability and challenged you to test your legal acumen to decide if liability did in fact exist.  I had Jesse Kirschenbaum, Esq research the issues and prepare answers.  Today we provide you with the answers.  Each scenario was an actual court case.  Here's how the courts dealt with the cases.  Before we give you the answers that the Courts gave, here is one brave soul's answers and two comments:
     The answer for all of them potentially is YES.  We live in a litigious society.  
    For question #1, the idiot that injured himself in the stairwell will likely name the hotel, the alarm company and even NFPA for putting the elevator recall into the fire code.  Will liability attach??  I'm going to guess NO if your contracts are used.
    Question #2.Should be absolutely NO.  It is part of the "Fireman's Rule". Parts of the job are inherently dangerous and automobile accidents are part of the danger.  Too many variables here.  Was the cop a lousy driver?  Was the person he hit or got hit by driving in a safe manner?  No vehicles except military vehicles during time of war or insurrection are exempt from the motor vehicle codes, and that included going through red lights or speeding.
    Question #3 should be NO also.  No one told that fat bastard fireman to eat all those huge pasta and or pizza dinners for all those years and then climb into their cot and expect to not be called out to a fire in the middle of the night.  Remember, the paid fire service is one of the only jobs where a pillow and blanket are part of your issue equipment.
    Question #4, No Liability.  Those defective brakes were destined to fail.  I feel bad for the fireman, but it shouldn't be my problem.
    Question #5.  I know that I saw where some jerk was trying to sue ADT for hearing loss due to a loud siren.  You didn't specify if it was burg or fire.  Common sense would tell you that if something hurts your ears, you cover them while you move away from the noise.  If it was a fire alarm, will the hearing impaired guy sue NFPA for specifying that the ambient sound level had to be that high?  
     I'll go out on a limb here and say that the answer to all of them is NO if we use your all in one contracts.
John from NJ
    Not court-tested, thankfully, but we were named in a pre-action resulting from a residential false alarm back in about 1995.  The (not too bright) responding officer thought it was easy to jump from a retaining wall onto a garage roof to look in a 2nd-story window (there were no signs of entry and no subsequent signals).  He slipped, and fell off the roof to the driveway, injuring himself significantly.  I wrote a response asking why the officer thought it appropriate to climb on a roof with no probable cause and no safety gear, and never heard anything of it.  I did not have an attorney then, I do now.  I used plagiarized contracts then, I now use yours.
Tom B.
    Oh, oh, I know. The answer is, you can be held liable in every one of those scenarios without a properly drafted contract. Am I right?
    Problem is, alot of customers are doing away with properly drafted contracts and making us sign their contract. These are perfect examples of things that have little or nothing to do directly with servicing or installing a system, yet can result in me being held liable. I believe by signing a customer drafted contract that would include an indemnity agreement or a waiver of subrogation, it puts you right in the bullseye if a lawsuit were to arise or should I say when a lawsuit arises. Your examples are what we should be most afraid of. 
    I will save this email and show it to people as I try and explain why I don't just sign like the other sub (human)s do. I don't expect a different result. 
Anon in fla
    Actually the fact scenarios may be influenced by the alarm contract, though the contract was not something any of the cases focused on, probably because none were defended by an alarm industry lawyer, me in particular.  Here's how the Standard Form Agreements may have helped.  The contract would provide that the alarm company was not responsible for testing or service except on request.  Also, the alarm company was not responsible for false alarms or false alarm fines.  Finally, the contract would have provided for the subscriber to indemnify the alarm company.
Scenario 1.   False fire alarm in hotel. Guests are asked to evacuate and use the stairs as elevators are shut down because of the fire alarm. A guest injures himself on the stairway. Is the alarm company liable?
Answer:  Yes, the alarm company is liable.  In Hammerstein v. Jean Dev. West, the Supreme Court of Nevada reasoned that it was reasonably foreseeable that a false alarm in a hotel full of guests would result in at least one injury as all the guests are running for their lives upon hearing the alarm.  It is irrelevant whether the extent of the injury or the specific injury suffered was foreseeable as courts will hold an alarm company liable so long as the actual injury itself was a foreseeable consequence of the false alarm.
Scenario 2.    False burglar alarm in bank. Cop gets into automoblie accident on way to the bank. Any liability?
Answer:  Yes.  In Duncan v. Rzonca, the Appellate Court of Illinois ruled for the police officer who was responding to a false alarm when he was seriously injured after colliding with another vehicle. The court held that the negligent activation of the false alarm created the danger that the responding emergency vehicle would be involved in a collision.  Because the alarm company is deemed responsible for creating the risk of injury caused by a false alarm, it will be held liable for any injuries suffered by the officer that would not have occurred but for the false alarm.  As far as the "Fireman's Rule," most states have abolished it.  But even in the states that have not abolished it, the rule would not apply here as it is limited to a landowner or occupier's liability when a fireman or police officer is injured while on their property while responding to an emergency.  It does not extend to injuries suffered on the way to the scene.

Scenario 3.   False alarm. Fireman is on way responding when he suffers a heart attack. Any liability?
Answer:  No liability.  In re Alford, the Illinois Court of Claims did not hold the alarm company liable because firemen deal with a great deal of stress daily and studies have shown that they are at greater risk of suffering a heart attack due to the nature of their job.  So while a false alarm might be the straw that broke the camel’s back, courts are reluctant to hold that the false alarm was the proximate cause of the heart attack or that the heart attack was a reasonably foreseeable consequence to the false alarm. 
Scenario 4.  False alarm. Firemen on way. Fire engine has defective breaks causing a traffic collision that injures firemen. Any liability?
Answer:  No liability.  In Lodge v. Arett Sales Corp., the Supreme Court of Connecticut did not find the alarm company liable for injuries sustained by a firefighter responding to a false alarm reasoning that the injuries were not a reasonably foreseeable consequence of the false alarm.  In that case a group of firefighters were responding to a false alarm when the brakes of their fire engine failed, causing the engine to strike a tree.  As a result of the collision two firefighters died and several others were seriously injured. The court sided with the alarm company holding that the brake failure of a negligently maintained fire engine is not a reasonably foreseeable risk of a false fire alarm. 
Scenario 5.  False alarm with loud siren.  Worker at premises suffers hearing loss.  Liability?
Answer:  Yes.  In Simonian v. Gevers Heating & Air Conditioning, the Missouri Court found the alarm company liable when one of its employees accidentally triggered the alarm while servicing the panel.  Worker suffered tinnitus (hearing loss), which is an uncommon injury following a false alarm.  The court said whether or not the injury is common is irrelevant.  Rather, liability turns on whether the injury is a “reasonable and probable consequence of defendant’s actions.”  The court determined that the alarm company was liable because it deemed the hearing loss to be a reasonable and probable consequence of the loud siren that sounded upon the triggering of the false alarm.
 So how did you do?  There were five scenarios, if you got all five correct send in your resume.  I can use another defense counsel.