Sam Wyly, Texas billionaire, apparently didn’t understand he was settling a big case:
Sam Wyly, the colorful Texas billionaire, has sued Milberg Weiss and three other plaintiffs’ firms over their handling of a 2003 settlement of shareholders class-action lawsuit against Computer Associates.
Wyly’s beef? He claims that Milberg and the others left billions on the table by prematurely settling a case so they could bank some $40 million in attorneys fees. The suit was filed in state court in Manhattan and alleges legal malpractice, fraud, unjust enrichment and breach of fiduciary duty. Here’s the story from Newsday.
Newsday reports that Wyly’s lawsuit centers on two shareholder lawsuits filed against CA — one in 1998 following a sharp drop in CA’s share price, and another in 2002 following news of an accounting probe at the company. The plaintiffs law firms effectively dropped the 2002 claims, according to the story. Wyly’s lawyer, William Brewer, told Newsday that the firms’ decision to effectively drop the claims in the 2002 suit “one of the most egregious cases of [legal] malpractice I’ve seen in 23 years.”
Count me unconvinced. The billionaire did not know what was going on? He did not have teams of lawyers and financial advisors looking over the settlement to determine if he should accept it or should "opt out" and go for his own lawsuit?
Legal malpractice happens all the time. Clients accept settlements all the time without really knowing what’s going on.Both happen to wealthy businessmen and businesswomen all the time. Moreover, it looks like Milberg Weiss did not always live up to the highest standards of the profession.
But come on: Will any jury really believe that this billionaire had no idea what was going on and that the evil lawyers swindled him out of a massive verdict (one that also would have lined those same lawyers pockets)? Does this lawsuit have any basis in fact?
Wyly became a major CA shareholder when it acquired his company, Sterling Software, for $4 billion in 2000. He’s a major contributor to conservative causes, and was a top supporter of George W. Bush in 2004 and helped fund the “swift boat” ads that helped defeat John Kerry.
Oh. Guess not.