April 25, 2018, the Second Department issued a decision in Alam v. Uddin, 2018 NY Slip Op. 02763, holding that the question of whether the signature on an agreement containing an arbitration clause was forged was for the court, not an arbitrator, to determine, explaining:
Where a party has applied for an order compelling arbitration, the court shall direct the parties to arbitrate if, among other conditions, there is no substantial question whether a valid agreement was made. Here, the defendant alleged that his signature on the purported partnership agreement was a forgery and thus no valid agreement was made. Contrary to the defendant’s contention, the question of forgery is a threshold question for the court and not an arbitrator to determine. Therefore, the defendant failed to establish his entitlement to an order compelling arbitration and staying all proceedings in the action pending arbitration.
(Internal quotations and citations omitted).
Commercial litigation involves more than courts. Disputes often are–by agreement–decided by private arbitrators. Contact Schlam Stone & Dolan partner John Lundin at email@example.com if you or a client have a question regarding a dispute that is subject to an arbitration agreement.
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