Michael Kump Plays Key Role in Highly Publicized McCourt Trial

Michael Kump represents Jamie McCourt and was one of her primary trial lawyers in the high profile trial that began on August 30, 2010 and ended on September 30, 2010 in Los Angeles County Superior Court. The outcome will help determine who owns the Los Angeles Dodgers as between Jamie and her former husband.

Michael has been representing Jamie McCourt since before she filed a marital dissolution action on October 27, 2009 in Los Angeles County Superior Court. Jamie and Frank McCourt in February 2004 became the owners of one of the marquee franchises in American sports, the Los Angeles Dodgers. Jamie became the highest ranking woman in Major League Baseball, serving as Vice Chairman in 2004, and then as President in 2005 until she became CEO in 2009.  When the couple separated in 2009, Mr. McCourt took the position that he was the sole owner of the Dodgers based upon a marital property agreement signed in March 2004.

Michael and the rest of Jamie’s legal team asserted in the dissolution action that the marital property agreement was invalid and unenforceable on certain legal grounds. Early in the dissolution action, Honorable Scott M. Gordon scheduled a bench trial for August 30, 2010 on the sole issue of the validity and enforceability of the marital property agreement. The KWIKA team of Michael, Suann MacIsaac and Jonathan Steinsapir handled a substantial portion of the discovery and brief writing for this phase of the dissolution action.

The KWIKA team with the assistance of forensic document examiners made a shocking discovery in mid-July 2010:  the McCourts in 2004 had actually signed two versions of the marital property agreement, the “California version” which excluded the Dodgers from Mr. McCourt’s separate property (thereby preserving Jamie’s marital property rights in the Dodgers), and the “Massachusetts version” which included the Dodgers within his separate property. Prior to this dramatic discovery, the only version offered in evidence by Mr. McCourt was the Massachusetts version, which gave him sole ownership of the Dodgers. As a result of this bombshell discovery, the law firm that had jointly represented the McCourts in connection with the martial property agreement admitted on the eve of trial that one of its partners, after the originals of the agreement had been signed and notarized, switched out the key page in the California version excluding the Dodgers from Mr. McCourt’s separate property with the page from the Massachusetts version that included the Dodgers in his separate property. The law firm never disclosed the switch to Jamie, or to her lawyers or the Court in the dissolution action, until the eve of trial.

The trial began on August 30, 2010 and lasted eleven court days, culminating with closing arguments on September 29, 2010. During the trial, Michael handled two of the key witnesses, conducting the direct examination of the McCourts’ California trusts and estates lawyer, and cross-examining the California lawyer who prepared the marital property agreement and was one of the lawyers representing the couple in connection with the agreement. The case is under submission and Judge Gordon is expected to issue a ruling before the end of the year.

Throughout the trial, Michael was interviewed several times on television and quoted extensively in the media. The following are links to some of the press accounts quoting Michael:

  • Estate Planner Testifies Frank McCourt ‘wanted me to talk sense’ ….
    Los Angeles Times
    … she needed sensible people … and he really wanted me to talk sense into her,” Bishop said under examination by Jamie McCourt’s attorney, Michael Kump. …
  • McCourt Divorce Trial: Steve Susman Goes On The Attack
    LA Weekly
    Jamie’s lawyer, Michael Kump, led Bishop through her business relationship with Jamie, eliciting testimony highly favorable to Jamie’s version of events. …
  • McCourts each express disbelief over the other’s interpretation of …
    Los Angeles Times
    She wore a pale lavender Michael Kors jacket and dress. … Outside the courtroom, Michael Kump, one of Jamie’s lawyers, rebutted Frank’s account. …
  • McCourt divorce: His lawyers strive for damage control
    Los Angeles Times
    “Mr. Cafferata had one 15-minute conversation with her,” said Jamie’s attorney Michael Kump. “The only thing he recalls her saying is ‘The houses are mine, …
  • Dodgers Owner McCourt’s Wife Didn’t Want to Co-Own Team, Lawyer …
    Bloomberg
    Cafferata, a California lawyer, said under cross-examination from Jamie McCourt’s lawyer, Michael Kump, that the only meeting in which he discussed the …
  • McCourt Divorce Trial, Day Seven: Reynolds Cafferata’s Dodger Dreams
    LA Weekly
    But on cross-examination, Jamie’s lawyer, Michael Kump, set about undermining Cafferata’s credibility. Kump first asked whether Cafferata’s firm is doing …
  • McCourt Divorce Trial, Mediation Day: No Deal As Talks End, Trial …
    LA Weekly
    A short time later, Michael Kump, an attorney on Jamie’s team, left the courtroom and yawned. The parties do intend to schedule another mediation session, …
  • Frank McCourt ‘not concerned about cash,’ financial advisor testifies
    Los Angeles Times
    Later, Jamie’s attorney, Michael Kump, said Ingram’s testimony showed what Jamie has long contended — that they made decisions and spent money together. …
  • Dodgers Finance Chief Disputes Wife’s Trial Testimony
    BusinessWeek
    Michael Kump, a lawyer for Jamie McCourt, questioned Cafferata about why the template used for the agreement had been a prenuptial contract that under …
  • Frank and Jamie McCourt divorce case: What happens now?
    Dodgers Blog
    Mike Kump, an attorney for Jamie, said such a trial could take up to 60 days and in any case would require the collection of a significant amount of new evidence. –Steve Susman, an attorney for Frank, said he did not believe the …