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Signing someone else’s name with permission but without so indicating was ‘dishonest’ – 7th Circuit (Posner)

Two insurance agents, Bonnie Roth and Connie Roth, had their contracts terminated. Among other things, they had signed other people’s names to insurance paperwork — with their permission — but without adding “by Bonnie Roth.”

The question was, did this constitute “dishonest” conduct that permitted the insurance company to terminate the agents without six months’ notice.

After wading through the contract language (and criticizing it for its awkward drafting), legendary federal appellate judge Richard Posner agreed with the trial court that this was indeed “dishonest”:

… it is misconduct to sign another person’s name to an insurance application without indication that it is not the applicant’s signature. It is deceptive, since it is not the kind of deviation from instructions that a supervisor would catch, and it could get the company into trouble.

Roth v. Am. Family Mutual Ins. Co., No. 08-3704 (7th Cir. June 5, 2009) (affirming summary judgment dismissing insurance agents’ lawsuit against insurance company) (Posner, J).

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