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Dodgers Ownership Trial May Be Delayed, Lawyer Says

Frank McCourt and his ex-wife may not resume the next phase of their divorce trial, which will address the ownership of Major League Baseball’s Los Angeles Dodgers, for another year, a lawyer for Jamie McCourt said.

The next phase of the trial must wait in line with other family-law cases in Los Angeles Superior Court, attorney Dennis Wasser said today after a hearing before Judge Scott M. Gordon.

“There’s no way this is going to trial for at least a year,” Wasser said.

Gordon in December ruled that a 2004 postnuptial agreement, which Frank McCourt claimed made him the sole owner of the baseball team, is unenforceable. The hearing today addressed language proposed by Jamie McCourt’s lawyers for a final version of the judge’s December decision. The next phase of the trial will deal with the couple’s assets.

Lawyers for Frank McCourt said last year that the next phase could be as short as one day. Wasser said today that the trial will take at least 30 days and that it will take a year to gather the necessary evidence on assets Frank McCourt owned 40 years ago, before the couple were married, which he says were used to buy the Dodgers.

Frank McCourt’s lawyer Sorrell Trope declined to say after the hearing whether he would seek an appeal of Gordon’s ruling on the postnuptial agreement before the next phase of the trial. It might be possible to pursue an appeal while moving the case forward, Trope said.

September Trial

The couple went to trial in September, a year after Jamie McCourt filed for divorce, over the validity of the postnuptial agreement they signed when they moved to Los Angeles from Boston. The $421 million acquisition of the Dodgers from Fox Entertainment Group Inc. was completed Feb. 13, 2004. The team is worth about $727 million, Forbes magazine said in April.

David Boies, who also represented Jamie McCourt at the trial, said in December that the net value of the team, excluding the debt, was at least $500 million and that whoever wished to buy the other side out would need to come up with at least $250 million.

The case is McCourt v. McCourt, BD514309, Los Angeles County Superior Court (Los Angeles).

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