Torts Keyed to Dobbs
Spengler v. ADT Security Services, Inc.
In May 2004, Plaintiff Spengler signed a contract with Defendant ADT to install and monitor a security alarm at the home of his mother Veronica Barker. The agreement included a call button alarm that Barker could activate when in distress, which he requested due to her cancer of the larynx leaving her unable to speak. In October 2005, ADT received an alarm from Barker, but due to an error in the address that ADT gave to the ambulance dispatchers in response to the alarm, the ambulance was delayed 16 minutes. By the time they got there, Barker’s heart rhythm was asystolic, she never regained consciousness, and died in the hospital. Spengler sued ADT alleging that by providing an erroneous address to the dispatcher, ADT committed misfeasance subjecting it to tort liability. The district court granted summary judgment for ADT on the tort claim, finding that ADT breached no duty independent of the contract. The court also granted summary judgment to Spengler on the contract claim, finding that ADT breached the contract and limiting damages to the $500 amount stated in the contract. Spengler appealed arguing that the court erred in finding the case sounded in contract instead of tort, and that the $500 limitation of liability clause was unconscionable and unenforceable.
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