My mother who owns a restaurant wanted to partner with me. She forged my signature to a lease agreement making me also responsible for rent for up to 3 years if the contract is broken. I am no longer associated with the restaurant. Do I have legal action I can take?
Yes. You should retain a lawyer to review the signed lease and discuss with you the forged signature. The lawyer can then directly engage with the commercial landlord on your behalf, and try to work out your being released from any personal obligations under the lease (assuming that the lease indicates that you personally guaranteed the lease, above and beyond signing it merely in your corporate capacity). What needs to be worked through between your counsel and the commercial landlord is the tension between your right to rescind the lease as to you personally due to the forgery, versus the landlord's right to reasonably rely on what s/he/it had good cause to believe was your bona fide signature. If an understanding reduced to writing cannot be accomplished, this might ultimately come to litigation if a default occurs, and the landlord now wants to pursue remedies against you on the grounds that it reasonably relied on the integrity of the signature. If you can prove in court that this was a forgery, you would have the remedy of recission, but hopefully, you would not have to go so far as a lawsuit to avail yourself of that benefit. I would start with a consultation with a business litigator, then proceed from there based on the legal advice you obtain from that discussion. Best wishes to you in 2020.
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