Of all of the litigation in which Frank McCourt is currently involved, the one in which I’m most staunchly on his side is his malpractice action — or malpractice action to-be — against the lawyers that handled the property distribution agreement between him and his wife.
As became clear during the divorce trial, one lawyer’s switching out copies of the agreement to fix what appeared to be a drafting mistake, rather than have Frank and Jamie re-execute a corrected agreement, was the turning point. It gave Jamie McCourt the opportunity — disingenuously in my view — to argue that she was always entitled to half of the Dodgers. But because of lawyer’s actions the judge was left with little choice but to set the agreement aside and treat the Dodgers as community property. That’s malpractice, pure and simple.
We’re not quite to the point where that’s being litigated, but Frank McCourt is in court today to make sure that day comes. The law firm sued him first, actually, claiming unpaid fees and hoping to head off the malpractice claim. Today Frank is trying to have the fee claim dismissed so he can proceed. And it’s important that he win it: he took a $30 million personal loan from Fox earlier this year, secured by the proceeds from the lawsuit. Risky as hell, but that’s Frank.
Anyway, Bill Shaikin, as usual, has the full story. Let us all enjoy the brief period in which we can actually root for Frank McCourt.
John Wisely of the Detroit Free Press reports that current free agent reliever Francisco Rodriguez is being sued by his former landlord for damage to the rented property as well as missing artwork. The landlord is asking for $80,000 after having kept Rodriguez’s $15,000 security deposit.
The lawsuit says that Rodriguez damaged a bedroom TV, a crystal floor lamp, glass shelves in the bar, glass tiles in the master bath, and a Moroccan mirror in the powder room. Additionally, the suit claims that the bedding is stained and paint has chipped, as well as other damages. And the piece of art that is allegedly missing, which depicts a tiger, is valued at more than $10,000.
Rodriguez has not yet been served with the suit, but the landlord has been speaking to his managers.
The Nationals released Rodriguez, 35, two weeks ago after having signed him to a minor league contract in late June. He started the season with the Tigers, but struggled to a 7.82 ERA over 25 1/3 innings before being released.
MLB.com’s Mark Feinsand reports that the Rays have acquired first baseman Lucas Duda from the Mets. The Mets will receive pitching prospect Drew Smith in return, per Jeff Passan of Yahoo Sports.
Duda, 31, is batting .246/.347/.532 with 17 home runs and 37 RBI in 291 plate appearances for the Mets this season. He’ll provide a potent bat in the Rays’ lineup as they attempt to overcome their current 2.5-game deficit in the AL East.
Smith, 23, is the Rays’ No. 30 prospect, according to MLB Pipeline. He ascended from High-A to Triple-A already this season, posting an aggregate 1.60 ERA with a 40/9 K/BB ratio over 45 innings across four stops with High-A Lakeland (Tigers), High-A Charlotte (Rays), Double-A Montgomery, and Triple-A Durham.