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Temperature screening cameras / Summons from NYC FD 
May 14, 2020
Temperature screening cameras
            We are being asked to provide temperature screening cameras for several of our client buildings and this seems to be something that is a hot item currently. Are you familiar with or have you already been asked to look into possible issues that may arise for an integrator that would install one of these systems.
            Possible risks of liability that may come to mind...
What if the system gets a positive reading and a person is not allowed in the building and it is determined that the system was malfunctioning, are we protected with your CCTV contract?
            A lot of things come to mind.
Name withheld
            What might have been considered medical equipment is now falling within the spectrum of security equipment.  Scanning people with high temperature is allegedly an effective way to identify those who may be suffering from the Coronavirus.  Business owners have a real interest in this type of screening and, at least at the moment, this kind of screening has the imprimatur from the government.  Keeping those infected with the virus from entering or remaining on premises is good for business and the public in general.  Consideration of individual rights and prohibition against discrimination against the disabled are not presently applicable.
            You can install the temperature sensors.  They are security devices.  You would use the Commercial All in One and describe the equipment components and how the system works in the Schedule of Equipment and Services.
Summons from NYC FD 
            One of our subscribers received an NYC Fire Department Summons for not having a pressure gauge on the compactor sprinkler system.  We are their fire alarm and sprinkler/standpipe vendor and we have gone to hearings with them in the past and always get the charges dismissed or reduced to the minimum, so, we were willing to attend the hearing for them to help defend the case.  The Judge always gives us the option to stop and adjourn if we see things going bad.  
            Initially when they sent us a copy of the summons we installed a gauge, but also researched the requirement.  The law actually was written wrong for two reasons: the first, it was written for the wrong type of building, and second, the law states "if a gauge is installed" not that one has to be there.
            At the hearing I presented that as an argument.  The FDNY Inspector at the hearing had to call and speak with his supervisor who could not give an answer other than it was required, and that he was not the person that wrote it.  The FDNY requested an adjournment so they could bring in the inspector who wrote the summons.  The Judge told me after the hearing ended and the FDNY Inspector left, if, he gets the case again he will hold them to the facts as written and unless they have a newer code/law that cover this building and has different working, the case will be dismissed.  
            I cannot find anything newer or different, so, can a different Judge rule that although the summons was incorrectly written it is still valid?  Let’s say, they say that the gauge is required under another section of the law (which I have not been able to find), so, if the proper section had been written it would have been required thus uphold this summons?
Name withheld
            The general rule is that a summons must be strictly construed and interpreted.  A mistake in the statute would be a technical mistake requiring dismissal of the summons.  The Judge apparently told you that.  Of course the Judge should not have been talking to you once the proceeding was adjourned, especially when the prosecuting attorney left.  There is some informality in these essentially non-criminal proceedings.  
            The judges handling these matters rotate so you may end up with another one. While another judge would ordinarily be bound by a ruling by another judge on the same case [called “rule of the case”], you don’t have a prior ruling.  You have some colloquy and you don’t have it on the record [a recording or transcript].  
            Dismissal for technical error is fairly common so if you’re correct then the summons should be dismissed.

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Ken Kirschenbaum,Esq
Kirschenbaum & Kirschenbaum PC
Attorneys at Law
200 Garden City Plaza
Garden City, NY 11530
516 747 6700 x 301