Frank McCourt’s former law firm sues him

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Frank McCourt got sued yesterday by his former law firm, Bingham McCutchen. This is a suit for declaratory judgment, which for all practical purposes means that they sued McCourt because it was obvious that he was going to sue them, and they wanted to get the drop on him. Bingham (a) is asking for a declaration that it did no wrong when it represented McCourt and his wife when drafting up the marital property agreement that is the subject of the divorce case; and (b) is asking to get paid, because McCourt has apparently not done so.

Nor would I have, frankly, because Bingham screwed the pooch here.  You’ll recall that the reason Jamie McCourt was declared to be a co-owner of the Dodgers in the lawsuit was because the judge invalidated the marital property agreement that was designed to cut her out. He did so because the Bingham lawyer who as in charge of it messed up and then replaced the document Frank McCourt thought he was getting — the one with him listed as sole owner of the Dodgers — for the mistaken one that showed Jamie as co-owner.  Mistakes happen, but when you’re a lawyer you don’t fix ’em by pulling the old switcheroo.  By doing so, the Bingham’s lawyer allowed Jamie to argue — against what seemed like common sense and the parties’ intentions — that, sure, she was always supposed to own the team.  And now, legally speaking, she does.

It’s always better to be the plaintiff than a defendant, of course, especially because you get to pick the court and get the first crack at framing the issues. Bingham has done that, picking Massachusetts as the forum and casting this as a case in which McCourt’s damages are all of his own doing.  I’m the last person who will deny that McCourt has shot himself in the foot several times, but boy howdy, is it a tough sell to say that his acts, as opposed to the incompetence of the Bingham lawyer in charge of the marital property agreement, are what led to the current fragmented state of the Dodgers ownership.  And it has likely cost McCourt a couple hundred million dollars.

Report: Astros extend Justin Verlander for two years, $66 million

Justin Verlander
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The Astros are in agreement with right-hander Justin Verlander on a two-year, $66 million extension, Mark Feinsand of MLB.com was among those to report on Friday. With no money deferred, the $33 million he’ll receive over the next two years will set a record AAV for major-league pitchers; something MLB Network’s Jon Heyman says matters to Verlander, who “cares how his deals affect markets (and fellow players).”

While it’s far from the five-year, $100 million extension teammate Alex Bregman signed with the club on Friday, the deal will give the Astros a bigger window to consider their long-term plans for the ace before he hits free agency again. Prior to Saturday’s agreement, Verlander’s original contract — the hefty seven-year, $180 million arrangement he reached with the Tigers in 2013 — was set to expire at the conclusion of the 2019 season.

It’s difficult to overestimate the value Verlander has provided to the Astros since they acquired him from the Tigers back in 2017. He was named the 2017 ALCS MVP following seven shutout innings in a must-win Game 6 performance and helped the Astros clinch their first franchise World Series title. In 2018, he earned his seventh career All-Star distinction and received consideration for both AL Cy Young and MVP awards after pitching to a 16-9 record in 34 starts with a 2.52 ERA, 1.6 BB/9, 12.2 SO/9 (the product of a career-high 290 strikeouts), and 6.7 fWAR over 214 innings.

The deal has not been confirmed by the team.