NBFAA Plans to File Legal Brief in N.J. Indemnity Case

Support needed to reverse court ruling with serious industry implications


Irving, Texas, Nov. 9, 2006 – The National Burglar & Fire Alarm Association (NBFAA) with its New Jersey Chapter and The Central Station Alarm Association (CSAA) is launching a grassroots campaign to alert the industry and solicit financial support for a legal filing, known as an amicus brief, in a case that is now pending with the New Jersey Appellate Division.

In a recent Camden County, New Jersey trial, on a subrogation claim, the court ruled against the industry in favor of awarding the plaintiff $4.5 million in connection with a burglary of computer equipment from a warehouse. The court held that exculpatory clauses in alarm contracts, including limitation of liability and indemnification clauses, are unenforceable under New Jersey law.

If this judgment is upheld by the Appellate Division in New Jersey, it will have serious implications for the industry. Among other things, alarm companies could face greater liability exposure and significantly increased insurance rates.

"The final outcome of this case has far reaching and serious implications that will transcend the boundaries of the New Jersey state lines and affect the entire industry" said NBFAA President, George Gunning. "It has the potential to set a precedent that may be used in lawsuits in other states, so we urge all industry professionals to do what they can to support this move to protect the industry."

An amicus brief is a document that is filed by a "friend of the court" or a party that has some interest in the outcome of a case. Amicus briefs are often filed on important issues facing appellate courts and can be very expensive to produce.

NBFAA has formed a "legal defense fund" for financial contributions from the industry to finance this initiative. A contribution form can be downloaded by visiting www.alarm.org. The Appellate Court is currently set to review the case in mid-November, so time is of the essence.