Judge favors Frank McCourt in divorce fees fight
LOS ANGELES (AP) — The ex-wife of former Dodgers owner Frank McCourt must reimburse him $1.9 million in legal fees after she unsuccessfully contested their divorce settlement, a judge has tentatively ruled.
Superior Court Judge Scott Gordon issued his decision Tuesday, citing provisions in the former couple’s divorce settlement that called for any party that contested the agreement to pay the other side’s attorneys’ fees.
The ruling was issued as a civil trial drew to a close in a case over whether McCourt and the Dodgers were responsible for the beating of a San Francisco Giants fan at the team’s home opener in 2011. Bryan Stow, a former paramedic who suffered debilitating injuries in the attack in the Dodger Stadium parking lot, is seeking more than $36 million from the team and McCourt. Closing arguments in the case began Thursday morning.
In September Gordon rejected Jamie McCourt’s claims that her husband shortchanged the value of the Dodgers, which sold in 2012 for more than $2 billion.
Frank McCourt’s attorneys sought repayment of nearly $2 million in fees spent opposing the motion. Jamie McCourt’s lawyers argued in April the fees were excessive.
“The language in the stipulated judgment makes it clear that the parties intended (it) to be an end to the litigation in this matter, and that the terms of the judgment were carefully considered and negotiated,” Gordon’s ruling states.
His ruling notes that Jamie McCourt is a “sophisticated individual” who had been involved in the operation of the Dodgers and litigation over its ownership, and that she was assisted by numerous lawyers and forensic accountants.
As part of the couple’s 2012 divorce settlement agreement, Jamie McCourt received $131 million tax-free and several luxury homes the pair had purchased during their nearly three-decade marriage.
The ruling will become final unless Jamie McCourt’s attorneys file objections within 15 days.
Attorneys for Frank and Jamie McCourt did not return phone messages Thursday.
Anthony McCartney can be reached at http://twitter.com/mccartneyAP