Employment Law Questions? Ask an Employment Lawyer.
Good evening and thank you for entrusting me to answer your question. I am very sorry to hear about this dispute and hope I can provide some clarification and piece of mind for you.Assuming this individual is properly classified as an independent contractor (which would appear to be the case from the facts you describe because you do not control the details of his operation and he presumably has much autonomy operating from another state), I see the legal position of an employer in your circumstance as being extremely strong. You have proof that you only requested 10 fliers. Furthermore, even though you did not consent to the printing of anything beyond ten fliers, you still agreed to pay for the cost of the additional 990 if they were properly posted, and the evidence strongly suggest that proper posting of all fliers would have been impossible in the amount of time this contractor had before "confirming" the job was done. They also didn't supply proof, which is customary in your working relationship.Given this individual has clearly doctored the email, the credibility of his testimony on other issues, such as the issue of whether he actually posted all 1000 fliers, would be "in the can," so to speak.While your legal position would appear strong, my concern would be that this indivdual may still elect to file a baseless small claims lawsuit in New Jersey. Since you are employing him in that state, NJ would have jurisdiction over the dispute, and you would be forced to appear at the small claims hearing there in order to defend your case. This is the only realistic "exposure" I can foresee and it is substantial in the context of relatively small size of this dispute, as the flight and hotel cost alone would likely match what he is seeking in "damages." Of course, you would be free to file a cross claim for fraud, and if you could convince the judge that your plane flight out to New Jersey was a "damage" arising from the fraudulent doctoring of your email, then you may be able to recover that cost.Please do not hesitate to let me know if you have any questions or concerns regarding the above and I will be more than happy to assist you further.If you do not require any further assistance, please be so kind as to provide a positive rating of my service so that I may receive credit for assisting you. Very best wishes to you and thank you so much for coming to Just Answer.
DISCLAIMER: Answers from Experts on JustAnswer are not substitutes for the advice of an attorney. JustAnswer is a public forum and questions and responses are not private or confidential or protected by the attorney-client privilege. The Expert above is not your attorney, and the response above is not legal advice. You should not read this response to propose specific action or address specific circumstances, but only to give you a sense of general principles of law that might affect the situation you describe. Application of these general principles to particular circumstances must be done by a lawyer who has spoken with you in confidence, learned all relevant information, and explored various options. Before acting on these general principles, you should hire a lawyer licensed to practice law in the jurisdiction to which your question pertains.
The responses above are from individual Experts, not JustAnswer. The site and services are provided “as is”. To view the verified credential of an Expert, click on the “Verified” symbol in the Expert’s profile. This site is not for emergency questions which should be directed immediately by telephone or in-person to qualified professionals. Please carefully read the Terms of Service (last updated February 8, 2012).