Tuesday, December 7, 2010
A lawyer's drafting error may determine who owns the L.A. Dodgers baseball team according this story from today's Wall Street Journal. According to court testimony, a Boston lawyer who worked on a post-nuptial agreement between Frank McCourt, the owner of the Dodgers, and his now ex-wife Jamie McCourt, substituted the word "exclusive" for "inclusive" which had the effect of shifting sole ownership from Frank to joint ownership with his wife. The lawyer, Bingham McCutcheon's Larry Silverstein, apparently tried to insert a corrected page into the McCourt agreement after he discovered the error but never informed either party.
[L.A.] Superior Court Judge Scott Gordon’s decision [tossing out an agreement that gave Frank McCourt sole ownership of the Dodgers] follows a trial that focused on whether a post-nuptial agreement signed by the couple in 2004 should decide who owns the team. Jamie McCourt had argued that no one told her she gave up her purported stake in the team by signing the document, according to the AP.
We’ve blogged about the McCourt saga here and here. The debate boils down to one word in the agreement. In some copies of the agreement, the word “inclusive” is used, meaning Frank would be the sole owner. In other copies the word “exclusive” is used meaning Jamie would be the co-owner.
Boston lawyer Larry Silverstein testified he flubbed the wording and didn’t tell the McCourts of the goof.
A big hat tip to librarian extraordinaire Rob Hudson.