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Security alarm monitoring company found only 10% liable by jury in negligence action.

United Central Control, Inc.
December 19, 2012

Jury returns verdict well below Plaintiff's pre-trial demand.

On December 19, 2012, a Travis County jury returned a verdict finding a security alarm monitoring company only 10% liable in a negligence trial. Donato, Brown & Pool served as defendant counsel for the security company.

The facts.

The case arose out of a multi-million dollar burglary which occurred at the plaintiff jeweler's premises. On the evening in question, a group of sophisticated burglars cut the telephone line to the jewelry store, resulting in a "trouble" signal being transmitted to the defendant security company. The police were not notified. Unfortunately, the phone line was not experiencing trouble; instead, a burglary was taking place. Plaintiff sued the security company for negligence, negligent misrepresentation, breach of contract, and violation of the Texas Deceptive Trade Practices Act.

The winning arguments.

Defense counsel argued, among other things, that the security company acted properly in response to the "trouble" signal it received based on the instructions provided to it. Because only a trouble signal had been received, and not an alarm signal, the police did not need to be notified; indeed, defense counsel asserted that the police would not have responded to a mere trouble signal. After trial, the jury returned a verdict finding no breach of contract, no violation of the DTPA, and only 10% liability to the alarm company for its negligence.