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Matteo v. Winslow Twp.

A-3037-96T5 (N.J. Super. App. Div. 1998) (Unpublished)

CONTRACTS; INDEMNIFICATION; NEGLIGENCE—An agreement to indemnify another for its own negligence need not use express language so long as the agreement unambiguously express that intent.

A waste disposal contractor, pursuant to its contract with a municipality, hauled and disposed of solid waste from its transfer station. In the course of its work, an employee of the contractor was injured and then sued the municipality, alleging the municipality’s negligence. The municipality claimed contractual indemnification against its contractor. The contractor, however, contended that the law of contractual indemnification for an indemnitee’s own negligence requires an express provision in the contract to that effect. Although the contract contained no such provision, the bid specifications unambiguously contained appropriate language. The Court, holding for the municipality, found that the contractual indemnification language was included within the contract by reference and that the law did not require that the indemnification language be “express.” Rather, an indemnification clause making the indemnitor liable for the negligence of the indemnitee need only unambiguously express that intent. In the words of the Court, “the bid specification indemnification provision does just that.”


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