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Alarm Failure Allowed Theft of Parrots


Monday, October 06, 2008

New York Law Journal
Volume 240, Page 5, Column 1

  Monday, October 6, 2008

Negligent Assembly/Installation

Alarm Failure Allowed Theft of Parrots

Settlement: $15,000

Island Animals Ltd. v. Marlarm Security Systems Inc., No. 4881/08

Court: Nassau Supreme, Justice Kenneth A. Davis, Aug. 7

Plaintiff’s Attorney: Anthony T. Ballato of Massapequa

Defense Attorney: Paul Tramontano of Kirschenbaum & Kirschenbaum, Garden City

Facts & Allegations: On Aug. 14, 2007, Island Animals Ltd. learned that a burglary had occurred at its Parrots of the World retail store in Rockville Centre. At that time, Island Animals had a contract with Marlarm Security Systems Inc. The alarm did not send out an alarm, and valuable parrots were stolen.

Island Animals sued Marlarm Security Systems, alleging the alarm system was not properly installed, that the improper installation constituted gross negligence, and that the system’s failure constituted breach of contract and breach of warranty.

Defense counsel contended that several exclusionary clauses contained in the parties’ contract for the alarm installation and monitoring applied to Island Animals’ claims. Defense counsel also contended that such exculpatory clauses should be upheld for claims of negligence, but that they should not be upheld for gross negligence. He moved for summary judgment, but Justice Davis opined that plaintiff’s counsel raised sufficient questions of fact to warrant further discovery and depositions.

Injuries/Damages: Island Animals filed a claim with its insurer for $62,530 for property loss due to the burglary. The insurer initially denied the claim because the policy included a clause that a working alarm must be in place, but it ultimately paid $36,745. Island Animals sought recovery of the remaining $25,785 and other expenses.

Result: The parties negotiated a $15,000 pretrial settlement.