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Dodgers Divorce Case May Lead to 9-Figure Legal Malpractice Claim

By Jason Beahm on September 23, 2010 | Last updated on March 21, 2019

An alleged mixup made by an attorney could lead to a massive legal malpractice claim by whichever party ends up losing the case. The matter at issue is known as the "Dodgers Divorce" of Jamie and Frank McCourt, who owned the Dodgers. The case made headlines with an alleged affair, divorce, allegations of forged documents and provided plenty of material to keep journalists busy.

Attorneys for former Dodger CEO Jamie McCourt each argue that their client is entitled to a portion of the Los Angeles Dodgers. However Frank McCourt says the Dodgers are his alone.

Complicating the case: there are six different copies of the key document, and three of them were signed at a different time than the other three, ESPN reports. Three of the documents use the word "exclusive," while three use the word "inclusive." The entire case could end up coming down to those two words, which appear to be a mistake on the part of the attorney.

Larry Silverstein who drafted the agreement, testified that he reviewed it Jamie McCourt, but could have accidentally gone over a different version than the one signed by Frank McCourt. Jamie was scheduled to testify today, Silverstein is scheduled to testify Tuesday.

It appears that Silverstein has put himself in a difficult situation. Silverstein graduated from Harvard Law School and made partner at his firm, Bingham McCutchen. Now he and the firm are looking at as much as a nine-figure liability claim if he is sued by either McCourt, The Los Angeles Times reports. A fellow attorney testified that she chided Silverstein for representing both parties due to a conflict of interest. She believed that Jamie McCourt should have had separate representation.

"His competence is being challenged here," said Laurie Levenson, a Loyola Law School professor and legal commentator. "If he's shown to be incompetent at the trial, the next action could be malpractice."

The case serves as a reminder of the importance of doing the necessary diligence and avoiding potential conflicts of interest. It's also a reminder that everyone makes mistakes, whether a solo attorney or an attorney from a massive law firm. Of course some mistakes can be far more costly than others.

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