As an independent contractor, can I be sued for a contract that my employer made and of which I was not aware of?

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As an independent contractor, can I be sued for a contract that my employer made and of which I was not aware of?

I was hired as an independent drafter to draw plans for a facility. The person that hired me has an HVAC company and was hired by another company to provide plans for this facility. I did everything and provided all drawings asked of me by my employer. I have only worked for him for about a month. The company that hired him has stated that my employer is in breach of contract a contract that I was not aware of and is threatening to ‘file a lawsuit against you, your company, your work associates, all people who are known to have been involved in this project, as well as attaching your bank accounts, personal property and business property.’ This company specifically threatened to file against me personally as well listing me by name. They also stated to me that,

Asked on March 10, 2018 under Business Law, California

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 4 years ago | Contributor

No, they do not have a basis to sue you for breach of contract if you were a contractor for someone else whom they hired. If A works for and is contracted with B, which works for and is contracted with C, then there is no direct relationship between A and C: A did not promise anything to C, was not paid directly by C, and has no contractual obligations to C. C can sue B, with whom they are contracted; and if B believes that something A did led to the lawsuit or B's liability, then B can sue A to recover compensation. But that is B, which is contracted with A, suing--not C, which is a stranger to A, suing A.
There are exceptions, of course: if something you did negligently caused injuries or damage, you can be sued by anyone injured or damaged, without the need for a contract: you can be sued for harm you do regardless of contractual relationships, but are NOT liable for "breach of contract" arising from a contract to which you are not a party and did not sign.
That does not mean they might not try to sue you and name you in a breach of contract lawsuit, to which you'd have to respond (i.e. not ignore) to avoid losing "by default"--the law does not prescreen lawsuits to see if they are valid. But you should have a good defense to any breach of contract liability.


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