That lawyer had the misfortune to provide legal advice to both Frank and Jamie McCourt with respect to their marriage agreement. This was the lawyer’s first misstep, acting for both husband and wife, who were clearly adverse in interest. His second, however, was much worse.
After negotiations between the McCourt’s, their Boston lawyer wrapped up and papered their marriage agreement, only instead of one agreement with the terms the McCourt’s had agreed upon, the McCourt’s, unbeknownst to them, ended up with two agreements, each of them duly executed by Frank and Jamie.
One agreement provided that upon the breakdown of the McCourt marriage, Frank McCourt would retain the Dodgers’ franchise, while Jamie would keep a large portfolio of real estate. The second agreement said their major league baseball franchise was family property that would be divided between them.
Needless to say, a judge in California threw out both agreements, finding there had been no “meeting of the minds” and no agreement at all. Jamie was very happy since the banishment of the agreement(s) meant that California’s community property law of 50/50 sharing kicked in.
Frank? Not so happy. In expectation of a negligence lawsuit, the Boston lawyer and his law firm decided to be proactive. To my great surprise they didn’t wait for Frank to sue them, rather they sued him! They applied to the court for a declaration their legal services had been competent and in accordance with a lawyer’s duty of care to a client.
A good move? Not really. Today their lawsuit was dismissed by the court who noted there was no authority or precedent to essentially preempt their client from commencing an action for negligence, by seeking such a declaration.
If I had to guess, it would be bumbling Boston lawyer who devised this unsuccessful strategy. Meanwhile, the Dodgers are now under the control of Major League Baseball and the McCourt’s carry on with their divorce battle. Like I said, greed, pride and stupidity.
Lawdiva aka Georgialee Lang