A recent North Carolina Court of Appeals case provided insight to the significance of signatures in a contract and whether signatures are on behalf of a company, an individual and/or for a guaranty. The case is an unpublished opinion but provides insight. The case is Ascendum Machinery, Inc. Vs. Edward Kalebich. The pertinent facts of the case are that Mr. Kalebich was a general manager of a company and completed an application for credit for the company with Ascendum and signed a Guaranty to secure the obligation. The company went out of business, the assets of the business were liquidated to pay other creditors and Ascendum sued Mr. Kalebich for the debt under the guaranty that was signed. Ascendum alleged that Mr. Kalebich signed the guaranty in his individual capacity, personally guaranteeing the obligation of the business he worked for. The document was entitled Guaranty. At the bottom of the single page Guaranty was the word “GUARANTOR” and the handwritten words of the company name, the name of the president of the company with the officer title of president and business address. Mr. Kalebich’s signature was below these words. Below Mr. Kalebich’s signature were the words “general manager” for the company. Mr. Kalebich signed the agreement only once. The court concluded that Mr. Kalebich signed only once and in his representative capacity not individually. The court held that the words “general manager” for his company name beneath his signature represented that he was signing the guaranty on behalf of the company and not individually. The court cited numerous cases to support their position. The court cited a ruling that provided “where individual responsibility is demanded, the nearly universal practice in the commercial world is that the corporate officer signs twice, one as an officer and again as an individual.”Thus, look at your contracts and guaranty agreements to determine if you need to update your contracts.