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    This is a tragic case for all involved, the customer, the families of the victims, and the security company.  Thanks to Al for sending it in.
    Not only does it point out the value of a good contract, it also points out the importance of incorporating.  I make numerous presentations to Security and Systems Integration company owners and discuss the importance of being an S Corporation.  Many times one of the owners will explain that he/she is an unincorporated sole proprietorship.  They aren't worried about legal liability because they "have insurance."  My response is always "Do you have $20 million of insurance?"  Maybe I should start asking if they have $50 million of insurance?
Mitch Reitman
    The case does illustrate how vunerable security companies are for losses sustained by their subscribers.  It would be an understatement to say that it's foolish to conduct business in your own name, without proper contracts and without E&O insurance.  Additionally, be sure you have all requisite licenses and training to perform the work you do. 
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    I have a question regarding a fire alarm agreement for a commercial account.  We have been monitoring the fire alarm in two neighboring businesses for several years.  They recently sold the building and we are transferring the contract to the new owners.  They are requiring us to sign THEIR service agreement, and they refuse to sign ours.  They also require several insurance endorsements that we have rarely been asked for by other subscribers, especially for a job of this capacity.  We do not feel comfortable with them not signing our agreement; however, we obviously want to keep the accounts.  Do you have any advice on how to handle this matter?
    Thank you for your time.
    This really is a tough one.  You want the business but you don't want the exposure, which you will certainly have it you don't get the new owner to sign your Commercial Fire All in One.  
    For starters, you can't continue to provide service under the old agreement because you know that subscriber is no longer in the building; you are now providing service to someone who has not signed a contract.  If you are required to sign the subscriber's contract in order to keep [or get] the account then you need to consider your risks.  You will want to consider the system, how comfortable you are with its installation and adequacy to provide the intended fire protection, whether all inspections and AHJ approvals are up to date; whether equipment is up to date; whether your E&O insurance is adequate to provide protection in the event of a loss [which it's probably not].  
    If you can't get your Fire All in One signed then you need to be careful to read and understand what the subscriber's form requires.  You may need to engage counsel to assist you make the bast deal.  
    You may also consider going after your subscriber who is under contract.  The new owner may find it necessary to cooperate with you because you may have codes and programming information that is not readily available.  Hold onto that information as leverage in your negotiations.

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                 Easton, CT, April 10, 2015— Security industry veteran Jay Stuck doesn’t really kill people for a living or worry about sneezing, but his new literary character does.  Amazon Kindle recently published BAD DREME- A George Dreme Thriller, written by Stuck.  The opening chapter of the book depicts a murder at a leading, thinly-disguised security industry trade show.  

“With thousands of security professionals and electronic security products at the show, I thought it would be a perfect place for a murder,” Stuck says.  “It’s not going to be a stretch to figure out which show I’ve used as a setting for the assassination.”

The first-time novelist has raised some eyebrows with his knowledge about “doing people in.”  “My wife’s friends read the opening chapter and seemed genuinely concerned for her safety,” Stuck says.  “They thought I may be leading a double life.”

Stuck is an executive vice president at a Manhattan security company with lots of retired law enforcement professionals, so he says his knowledge of investigations, firearms and other lethal tools comes from rubbing shoulders with his colleagues.  “I tried to combine the stories and knowledge I bring home from the office every day with a funny story about a hypochondriac hit man,” Stuck says.  “He may be afraid of germs, but he’s also very violent.”  

Stuck says that it took him about four months to write the book and another 60 days for editing and the creation of a cover design.  “There’s a science to creating novels for on-line publishing today,” he says of the experience.  “Amazon Kindle says 80% of its book sales are the result of an author’s cover, not the contents.”  Stuck is already hard at work on his next novel.  He plans to use another well-known industry meeting as a location in a future book.  “All of the shakers and movers of the security industry attend the conference,” he says.  “Perfect for a heinous fictional crime.”