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Jury rejects claim against alarm company

poffA Roanoke federal jury Thursday returned a defense verdict for an alarm company sued over a tragic communications breakdown.

A Franklin County man who cared for his disabled son at his home ordered an alarm system from Lifeline Systems.  The father, suffering from a heart condition, feared for his son’s safety if he fell victim to illness.  Due to a problem with the phone line, however, the alarm did not work when the father died of a heart attack in 2003.

Because no one came to check on the family, the son died days later from dehydration.

The alarm company blamed the telephone line problem that kept its system from working.

“Lifeline’s system was like an umbrella that didn’t work on a rainy day,” countered plaintiff’s attorney Kevin Ryan of Charlottesville.

The U.S. District court jury took less than an hour to find for the defendant alarm company.  The foreman told The Roanoke Times, “We just didn’t feel there was enough evidence.”

Posted by Peter Vieth

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