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Breach of Express Contractual Indemnity

Property, Fire and Casualty / April 1, 2009

Court/Case No: Michigan Supreme Court No. 136382

Tried/Argued Before: Michigan Supreme Court


Verdict: $189,991.20 in favor of F H Martin, plus interest

Name of Judge(s): 

Keys to the Case:

The general contractor, F. H. Martin, settled with Plaintiff Zahn and sued to enforce subcontractor Cimarron’s indemnity agreement.  Cimarron was Zahn’s employer.  Cimarron contended that it had no indemnity obligation because it was only required to indemnify F. H. Martin to the extent of Cimarron’s negligence.  Cimarron also contended that because MCL 600.2956 eliminated joint and several liability in certain actions, F. H. Martin could only have settled its own liability to the plaintiff.

The Michigan Supreme Court held that MCL 600.2956 does not apply to contract actions, and that an employer may voluntarily subject itself to liability for damages from which the employer would otherwise be insulated.  The key to the case was that the general contractor was suing in contract as opposed to tort; and, therefore, MCL 600.2956 was not applicable.

Defense SW attorney(s) Involved in Case:


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