Ever Sued?

john zema

New member
Have any of you ever been sued by a restaurant?If so why and how did it end up?What role did insurance co's play?


Just Curious,John
 

David Saulque

Senior Moderator
Seven plus years ago one of my crews damaged a aluminum roof. The flat roof was just finished the day after the service. The fans were huge turbine units. To make matter better the building was owned by the Teamsters(trade school). This was the first time it had been cleaned-started the job at 1AM with ice on the roof.

We had a meeting on the roof discussing the stains. The contractor stated he would void the 100 year warranty unless those sections were replaced. The bill was $15,000. I turned it into my insurance along with our side of the storey.

I contended that we were not told about the new roof, we clean to a national standard & why would the contractor put on a roof that was not serviceable.

The insurance company backed me up and stated we did the right thing and settled for $10,000 and did not renew my insurance because of the claim.

It should be a crime!!!!!!!!!!!!

David:mad:
 

RustyACE

President CHDCA
About 10 years ago we had a restaurant that was due for it's monthly cleaning. It had a wood fired pizza oven.

We called Sunday to confirm our arrival at 11 pm (when the restaurant closes) and that we would take about 3 hours or so to clean their restaurant. Noted the name of the manager.

When Roger showed up at the restaurant, it was locked up tight and no one was there. He called the manager and he had "forgot" about us and had closed early that night. So he called the owner and the owner said to come back and clean it in a few weeks.

We documented everything. Well the Saturday night before it had been rescheduled to have been cleaned (3 weeks later) it caught fire and burned to the ground. Someone had removed the spark arrestor and the embers flew up the chimney and landed on the roof and caught the roofing material on fire.

It was all over in an hour.

Our insurance company and the lawyers looked at our documents and the diary of the calls that had been made, to whom, when and how long and placed the fault on the owner for not properly maintaining his restaurant.

It was a real eye opener.

Never let your insurance lapse.

Rusty
 

David Saulque

Senior Moderator
Good information-but keep YOUR insurance company in your cross hairs-they will leave you out to dry. You must prepare for that day now with every service and contact.

David
 

Grant

Administrator
It is the insurance company that represents the restaurant that does the sueing, and they sue your insurance company, not you, unless of course you forgot to send in your premium (stick a fork in yourself, cuz you are done!) In this industry if someone lights a fire in the waste basket in the restroom or if the water heater catches fire you will be named in the suit if you did any work that is construed as fire protection.
We live in a litigious society and with insurance companies trying to save every penny they can pry out of your pocket they will subrogate to the end.
 

kmjt1021

Member
I have told this story before, but here is the short of it. We are told by a customer (McDonalds owner operator) that we are no longer needed, they got someone cheaper. We make the appropriate notes, never give it another thought. About a year later the places burns to the ground. Well as we found out they never had it cleaned. Our last invoice had written on it in big red letters. We have cleaned what we can however this system need numerous access panels installed and some things moved for us to completely clean this system. The suit was dropped a few months after we presented this info. We now send a certified letter to any one who tells us they no longer need us. Simply reiterating our conversation.

A little side note, this was the straw that broke the camels back with Joe Walters insurance co. insuring this industry. Joe said to me “THAT’S IT I’M GETTING OUT OF THIS $##$” on the phone when I informed him of the suit.
 

Phil Ackland

KEC Expert
On the subject of lawsuits
There is little we can do. But one thing I am going to attempt is to modify the NFPA 96 with some sort of wording that will put more of the fault for a fire on the restaurant. Presently it seems to me that cleaners are taking a disproportionate hit on this whole issue.
It is the restaurant that dicates frequency, they are the ones with the faulty ductwork and inaccessible areas.
Where is is true that cleaners can do a bad job and not remove the grease. There are many more occasions that the inability to remove it was the fault of the exhuast system or the restaruant owners attitude.
A few weeks ago I asked for some pictures of faulty (rotten - leaking) duct work. I only received one. If you guys would like my help - I need yours. Please get my proof of these areas that can't be cleaned. Help me prove to the committee that it is often the installation that causes the problem.
I can not do this alone gentlemen.
 

mattia

Member
Phil, Would the inspector be held accountable for not inspecting and passing the system year after year.... They are really the ones who have the power to close and press the restaurant owners to go with the advice of a hood cleaner...

Matt
 

Grant

Administrator
How about the insurance company that sends inspectors to their clients? If the insurance company has determined that the location meets or exceeds its expectations, how can they turn around after a fire and blame it on everyone else?

Perhaps the best avenue to take would be to eliminate the grandfather clauses that allow defunct systems to continue to be used. If a facility were to be required to update to current standards everytime there is an ownership change, an appliance change, a building permit drawn, a mandatory annual or bi-annual re-inspection performed, or some other criteria, the majority of the problems would be phased out over a relatively small time frame. Not everybody "must comply by Jan 1, 20XX" which would be virtually impossible for inspectors to enforce.
 

Ron Musgraves

Exterior Restoration Specialist
Staff member
How about the insurance company that sends inspectors to their clients? If the insurance company has determined that the location meets or exceeds its expectations, how can they turn around after a fire and blame it on everyone else?

Perhaps the best avenue to take would be to eliminate the grandfather clauses that allow defunct systems to continue to be used. If a facility were to be required to update to current standards everytime there is an ownership change, an appliance change, a building permit drawn, a mandatory annual or bi-annual re-inspection performed, or some other criteria, the majority of the problems would be phased out over a relatively small time frame. Not everybody "must comply by Jan 1, 20XX" which would be virtually impossible for inspectors to enforce.


Are you testifying in Court now Grant?
 

CleanVentilation

New member
Good information-but keep YOUR insurance company in your cross hairs-they will leave you out to dry. You must prepare for that day now with every service and contact.

David
This seems like solid advice to me. As I am just starting out, I'm now going to be extra careful about documenting all the times of my communications.
 
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