The Work

August 31, 2010 10:49 AM

Bingham at Center of Dodgers Divorce Case

Posted by Zach Lowe

Depending on your point of view, it's either a good or bad sign when a highly anticipated divorce trial gets underway with one of the lead lawyers working in the old "tangled web we weave" cliché to describe the conduct of one of the spouses. On Monday in Los Angeles, it was Dennis Wasser breaking out the quote to describe how he believes Los Angeles Dodgers owner Frank McCourt attempted to steal full control of the Dodgers from his wife, Jamie--perhaps with a little bit of help, accidental or otherwise, from the couple's lawyers at Bingham McCutchen, according to The National Law Journal, one of our sibling publications.

Dodger fans have been anticipating the divorce trial between Frank and Jamie McCourt for months, since control of the baseball team, one of the sport's crown jewels, may be at stake. That plank of the case centers around a 2004 agreement the couple signed detailing the property each owned, according to the NLJ. Wasser, name partner at Wasser, Cooperman & Carter, claims there are two versions of the agreement, one containing an exhibit which specifically designates the Dodgers as Frank McCourt's separate property and one that does not, the NLJ says. Wasser has said that the attorney who counseled the couple on the agreement, Bingham's Lawrence Silverstein, swapped in the exhibit favorable to Frank McCourt shortly before the couple signed the agreement, the NLJ says. Wasser has called that piece of evidence a "bombshell," but Frank McCourt's attorney, Stephen Susman of Susman Godfrey, said the difference between the two versions was the result of a "drafting error," the NLJ says. Marshall Grossman, a Bingham lawyer representing the Dodgers, attended the trial on Monday, the NLJ says.

As we've reported before, the 2004 agreement was discovered this summer in Bingham's vault. At least six copies exist, and forensic scientists concluded in July that one of the copies designating the Dodgers as Frank McCourt's property was a legitimate copy with Jamie McCourt's legitimate signature, according to our prior reporting. Susman trumpeted that finding as a victory, but David Boies of Boies, Schiller & Flexner, who also represents Jamie McCourt, told reporters in July that his client is the victim of a "switcheroo."

With Manny Ramirez gone and the Dodgers' playoff hopes fading fast, the McCourt drama may be the most entertaining show in town for Dodger fans. Stay tuned.

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