The Court of Appeals, in a full-fledged opinion by Judge Rivera, reversed the appellate division and determined a party who was not a signatory to an agreement which included an arbitration clause could not be compelled to arbitrate under the direct benefit estoppel doctrine. In explaining the doctrine, the court wrote:
Under the direct benefits theory of estoppel, a nonsignatory may be compelled to arbitrate where the nonsignatory “knowingly exploits” the benefits of an agreement containing an arbitration clause, and receives benefits flowing directly from the agreement … .
Where the benefits are merely “indirect,” a nonsignatory cannot be compelled to arbitrate a claim. A benefit is indirect where the nonsignatory exploits the contractual relation of the parties, but not the agreement itself … . Matter of Belzberg v Verus Investments Holdings Inc, 149, CtApp 10-17-13