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Patrick, Esq.
Patrick, Esq., Lawyer
Category: Employment Law
Satisfied Customers: 12798
Experience:  Significant experience in all areas of employment law.
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today I received a phone call at my work place from a gentleman

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today I received a phone call at my work place from a gentleman whom I thought was an attorney. He proceeded to tell me I was being sued along with my former employer in a civil action lawsuit and I needed to appear in court on Aug. 2. I have not worked for this employer since April 1 2012. I explained this to the man on the phone, and I also told him I am not nor ever have been an owner or shareholder of this corporation. He said I am liable to pay off this unpaid debt because I signed the contract on behalf of the company. I told him I half a signed Indemnity Agreement between myself and the company stating I have the right to act on behalf of the company but cannot be held responsible for anything due to the employee protection rights law. He sent me an email verifying the information on the phone , except his signature came across as the Senior Collections Agent. Do or Should I respond to the matter???
Good evening and thank you for entrusting me to answer your question. I am very sorry to hear about this lawsuit.

You may be interested to know that nobody can compel you to appear in court until you have been formally served with a lawsuit or subpoena. That's the law. You will know if you have been served because it generally requires the papers to be handed to you personally.

So, most likely, you would be entirely within your rights to simply not respond and not appear, since all that has seemingly happened so far is a phone call. Of course, you may be delaying the inevitable, as you will almost certainly eventually be served, but until you are, you have no obligation to respond or appear in court.

With regard to your indemnity agreement, that is between you and your former employer--it does not limit the right of a third party to take action against you because they did not sign or agree to your indemnity contract. Thus, while the indemnity agreement may obligate your employer to pay for your legal expenses and any prospective judgment, it does not get you out of the lawsuit. It's the equivalent of having insurance. It doesn't stop you from getting sued, it just stops you from having to pay for it.

You would be wise to remain in close contact with your former employer. If you do get served, it sounds like your agreement will force them to provide you with counsel, or at the very least, to reimburse any legal expenses you incur.

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.
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Customer: replied 4 years ago.

Thank you so much for you quick response, I was having difficulties sleeping so I wanted to get an answer this evening. I don't know why I hadn't thought of the being served papers before. That only makes sense. This former employer is the same one who I had dealt with previously and had to ask a question on before through your services. I guess I will not respond for now and wait it out until the time arises when I will have to bring my insurance policy to light and make my former employer pay.....Would that be your recommendation???

Thank you for your reply.

Here on Just Answer we can provide information about the law but cannot advise customers to take any specific course of action, as the latter verges on "legal advice," which the terms of this site and the rules of my state bar prohibit me from providing online.

What I can say is that you don't stand to lose anything by forcing them to serve you before taking further action. There is an off chance they may not serve you at all, in which case, the claim will eventually be dismissed.

Assuming they do serve you, I'd contact my former employer and demand they provide representation pursuant to your indeminty agreement. It may be possible to get you dismissed from the lawsuit right away, especially if your former employer's business was structured as a corporation or LLC. Very often employees are named in these lawsuits only out of an abundance of caution to cover all the "bases," and the plaintiff has no real intention of asserting the claim against them personally.

If I can provide you with any further assistance please do not hesitate to let me know. Very best of luck to you moving forward.
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