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  1. #1
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    Criminal negligence in the FL power outage & 5 elderly dying from the heat -NO A/C

    Liability insurance won't cover us from charges of criminal negligence.

    We need a thorough discussion of the many things we can do to avoid criminal negligence charges & costly civil lawsuits. (The FL hurricane news reports...)

    There are many types of negligent lawsuits that an Internet search will reveal.

    I have witnessed way too many situations where numerous types of negligence charges could have been pursued; we must do everything possible to eliminate those costly risks. Additionally; human lives cannot be replaced...!

    I hope this is a permitted discussion on this forum; it is a critical need...

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Negligence just one source...
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    udarrell

  2. #2
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    As I read the story. Damage was caused to the AC system by Huricane IRMA. However there is conflicting reports whether the nursing home actually lost power or had back up generator service. The tragedy happened after IRMA while there was a widespread power outage. It also stated the temepratures where in the high 70's. I understand heat stress & stoke can happen at any temperature but most people don't associate 78F ppr 79Fwith high concern temperature. There was questions if the nursing home staff could have evacuated earlier or faster. There were questions such as: was it safe to move patients outside if it was still raining and flying debris, could they have moved someplace cooler, diferent, etc.... No charges have been made that I saw just an investigation is underway. Again the story I read had no real detail about what really happened

    You are 100% correct about negligence and anyone can file a law suit because they felt they were somehow harmed or wronged. There was another discussion thread earlier this week discussig hypothetically doing work and the house burns down that night and liability concern if the business would stand up for the worker or throw them under the bus so to speak.

    Now as this applies to HAVC work, you protect yourself from negligence law suits by doing work according establish "industry" practices, manufactures instructions ("Not that's how I always do it") and in accordance with the codes and standards that apply to the work you did. I means if you see a real safety issue you tell the owner there is a safety concern and not show the owner how to reset the flame roll out safety switch, just as an example.

    I'll be interesting to see how they resolve this one

  3. #3
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    Upper 70s does not seem out of line for a temp in a senior complex. Wonder if there is more to the story than we are hearing?

    I found a couple stories on it. Neither comment on indoor temps. CNN report says temps were in the 90s outside. A/C out as a result of power transformer being out. No backup generator might say negligence. Failure to relocate them too but hard to say what other facilities might be available too. Lot to learn on this one, sad as it is.

  4. #4
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    Thread Starter
    Why this news report is important to HVAC contractors & their service personnel.
    The Florida nursing home where six people died Wednesday morning had a history of safety issues, including ones with its generator, according to a new report from Stat. The six deaths reported earlier today (three occurring at the Hollywood, Fla. nursing home, three after patients were taken to the hospital), are thought to be due to the facility’s lack of air conditioning due to power outages following Hurricane Irma. A criminal investigation has been opened, according to the Hollywood police chief. ...

    Prior to the hurricane, Broward County did not list the nursing home as one of the top priority facilities for restoring power after the storm, the Washington Post reported. A kitchen worker told the Miami Herald that the nursing home was using its generator’s power to cook food but not to power its air conditioning. The temperature in the area at the time was around 80 degrees Fahrenheit.
    Only 80F, yet it got too hot for the elderly residence on the 2nd floor...
    Back-up generators need to be able to support the air conditioner(s).

    Doing a good job documenting in writing your test procedures & results plus revealing what needs to be done, or you're NOT to blame liable for an A/C failure; can go a long-way toward warding off lawsuits...

    Those who 'seldom find & reveal the problems that usually lead to cooling or heating failures & then report them in writing indicating the possible consequences, are IMO - asking for needless costly problems... come on guys speak-up...
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    udarrell

  5. #5
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    If people want to avoid stuff like this stop looking for blame and start looking at ways structures can be built from the start to take advantage of passive heating and cooling and not just stuffing as many people as possible into a box and relying on mechanical climate control. Anyway if you are worried about liability do your job and do it thoroughly and of course always remember: Cover Your Ass. (CYA is Job #1)

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by Answer-Man View Post
    are 100% correct about negligence and anyone can file a law suit because they felt they were somehow harmed or wronged. There was another discussion thread earlier this week discussig hypothetically doing work and the house burns down that night and liability concern if the business would stand up for the worker or throw them under the bus so to speak.
    the Employee has minimal liability if joined to the Suit in my particular STATE
    YMMV

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by udarrell View Post
    Why this news report is important to HVAC contractors & their service personnel.


    Only 80F, yet it got too hot for the elderly residence on the 2nd floor...
    ...
    I work extensively in Institutional facilities
    elderly, particularly those with congestive heart failure, or other circulatory problems have a very narrow window of temperature they may tolerate

  8. #8
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    The hospital was right across the street from the nursing home.
    Forget civil liability, nursing home management should be in jail.

  9. #9
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    Just my opinion and 2 cents. The question isn't about liability but about negligence; doing something you know is not correct or not per the rules, regulations, standards and codes. Liability goes out the window with negligence.

    Nursing homes many times, the people being cared for do not have the ability or the mental capacity to do for themselves and are solely dependent on the nursing home & staff to protect them. Now if the nursing home is using a Nursing Assistant who can't pour water out of boot with the instruction on the bottom, its not the nuirsing assistants fault. But it falls to the onwer and or director for not hiring competent staff. In one of the stories I saw about this tragedy the Hospital was across the street. It was not until someone from the hospital came to check on things before the nursing home staff took any action.

    In the case of HVAC if you bypass a circuit breaker, or other protection devices, work not in accordance with instructions & code and the facility is damaged or burned down, or someone is hurt or worse, that's negligence and your liability insurance will not cover you if those facts are figured out

    Negligence is a concern and hard to protect against, but it is not a huge factor in our daily work

  10. #10
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    Negligence can be both Civil, and Criminal
    just as a question of Law or Equity, they are intertwined

    One may incur Liability and not be negligent
    One may be proven to be Liable, and not have been Negligent
    A question of Law may deal with Strict Liability, a Case regarding Equity may involve Liability
    Negligence may be the proximate cause in both

    Ones actions may invoke both Civil and Criminal Liability depending on the Loss, Harm, or Injury presented by the moving Party

  11. #11
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    Have you ever heard that it's common practice to name everyone in the lawsuit who even walked through the plaintiff's operating room in a malpractice lawsuit?

    It's real easy to get rolled up in a lawsuit of any sort, but especially one like this with dual whammy of loss of life and lots of press. Think you did everything right? They might bring in a compensated expert witness; perhaps one of your competitors, who'll swear to pretty much what the plaintiff's attorney tells him to.

    Unfortunately, it's even more likely you'll be raising your right hand if your insurance is exceptional.

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by rmdingler View Post
    Have you ever heard that it's common practice to name everyone in the lawsuit who even walked through the plaintiff's operating room in a malpractice lawsuit?

    It's real easy to get rolled up in a lawsuit of any sort, but especially one like this with dual whammy of loss of life and lots of press. Think you did everything right? They might bring in a compensated expert witness; perhaps one of your competitors, who'll swear to pretty much what the plaintiff's attorney tells him to.

    Unfortunately, it's even more likely you'll be raising your right hand if your insurance is exceptional.
    it's an incredibly lucrative business model

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by i.n.rem View Post
    I work extensively in Institutional facilities
    elderly, particularly those with congestive heart failure, or other circulatory problems have a very narrow window of temperature they may tolerate
    Add in the stress of being in the storm probably didnt help either.
    When my wife's mother went into assisted living we checked it out. The backup generator would run entire facility. Each room on its own ptac with halls/dining/etc on splits.
    Some of these deaths could be because the relative with consent power didnt allow a move or an extra sedative, it happens so one needs to choose wisely thier responsible party.

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