Florida baseball fans may remember the former owner of the L.A. Dodgers, Frank McCourt, who is currently embroiled in a lawsuit alleging that he and the Dodgers are responsible for the beating of a man at a game. He has taken on some additional legal battles in the wake of his 2012 divorce. He and his former wife, Jamie McCourt, were married for almost 30 years. Jamie also was, according to a judge, a “sophisticated” person who was involved in the ownership of the Dodgers and litigation involving the team. After the divorce, she was awarded $131 million tax-free and also was given ownership of several luxury homes the couple had owned.
However, the divorce settlement agreement stipulated that, if either member of the couple contested its terms, he or she would reimburse the other for court costs and legal fees. Jamie moved to contest the agreement, with her lawyers claiming that Frank had intentionally undervalued the team during property division negotiations. After the divorce, the team was sold for approximately $2 billion. A judge denied her claims and ordered her to pay Mr. McCourt’s legal fees.
Jamie’s lawyers argued that the $1.9 million she was ordered to pay was an excessive amount. However, a judge reviewed the settlement agreement and found that it was carefully put together by both parties. Her claims were again denied.
The language in the settlement agreement was presumably inserted for the purposes of avoiding future litigation. It is interesting that the payment of the other party’s legal fees was not dependent upon the outcome of the challenge.
Source: ABC News, “Judge Favors Frank McCourt in Divorce Fees Fight”, Anthony McCartney, June 26, 2014