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Contract – Fraud – Validity of contract alleged – Third party defendant maintains that it did not sign indemnity agreement.

Essex County, MA

In this contract matter, the defendant/third party plaintiff general contractor alleged that the third party defendant sub-contractor was liable on an indemnity agreement for injuries sustained by the plaintiff employee of the sub-contractor. The third party defendant maintained that it did not sign the indemnity agreement which the general contractor sought to enforce.

The plaintiff was an employee of the defendant sub-contractor who was injured on the job site. The employee sued the general contractor under a theory of negligence and unsafe workplace. The general contractor defendant brought a third party action against the sub-contractor employer seeking indemnity under a contract it alleged was in place between the parties.

The plaintiff and the defendant general contractor settled the employee’s negligence claim for $________ prior to trial. The general contractor then sought to be indemnified by the defendant sub-contractor under the indemnity agreement. The third party defendant sub-contractor maintained that it did not sign the agreement contrary to the allegations of the general contractor.

When a signed copy of the indemnity agreement was finally produced by the general contractor to substantiate its allegations, the defendant sub-contractor maintained that it had never signed the agreement. The general contractor employed a handwriting expert to substantiate its position that it was in fact the sub-contractor’s signature on the agreement. The defendant sub-contractor also employed a handwriting expert who opined that the signature, while that of the sub-contractor, had been "cut and pasted" onto the indemnity agreement, invalidating the agreement.The matter was tried. At the conclusion of the trial, the jury deliberated for two days and returned its verdict in favor of the third party defendant sub-contractor and against the general contractor.

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