The Work

September 24, 2010 2:18 PM

Lawrence Silverstein's Very Bad Week Continues

Posted by Zach Lowe

Lawerence Silverstein's bad week got even worse Thursday, when David Boies got the opportunity to again question the Bingham McCutchen partner on why he switched one word in a post-nuptial agreement--a word upon which the future of the Los Angeles Dodgers might hinge.

As we've reported before, Silverstein was representing both Frank and Jamie McCourt in 2004 when he drafted a post-nuptial agreement detailing how certain assets would be divvied up in the event of a divorce. There are six copies of the agreement, and Silverstein altered one word in what became the final copy without telling either party, according to our prior reporting. That word was "inclusive," and its insertion in place of its linguistic opposite, "exclusive," meant that the list of properties that were Frank McCourt's alone included the Dodgers, according to a rundown of earlier testimony from our colleague David Bario. Had the final version included the word "exclusive" instead, the agreement might have led to a split of the Dodgers between the McCourts, according to Jamie McCourt's lawyers.

Frank McCourt's lawyers at Susman Godfrey have described the change as Silverstein's innocent--if ill-advised--move to correct "a drafting error." The Boies team representing Jamie McCourt has speculated she was the victim of a "switcheroo."

Silverstein spent his third day on the stand Thursday and he "seemed to be confused" about the order of the various drafts of the agreement, according to this story in the AP. Silverstein also offered what appeared to be a new explanation of the exclusive/inclusive change, the AP reports: "Silverstein said Wednesday he wrote the word 'exclusive' in a draft of the agreement to reflect that [the Dodgers] were Frank McCourt's alone." This would seem to contradict the earlier narrative about the change, and Boies didn't miss that, the AP says. "It's mostly just to show his story keeps changing," Boies told the media after testimony.

The trial is off today, as the parties are entering confidential mediation, the AP reports. Bingham is likely crossing its fingers for some sort of amicable settlement, since the losing party, if sufficiently aggravated, could hit Bingham with a suit over the "drafting error" and its representation of both McCourts at the same time, according to the Los Angeles Times.

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