Suit vs. Rothman settled

The malpractice suit filed against veteran entertainment lawyer Frank Rothman by a disgruntled client has been settled.

After extensive discussion, the parties agreed that a miscommunication may have occurred during the course of Rothman’s firm, Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom’s prior representation of plaintiff William Weinberg. Terms of the settlement were not disclosed.

The case, which went to trial in L.A. Superior Court last month (Daily Variety, Nov. 17), involved a 10-year-old contest over a multimillion-dollar estate.

The plaintiff hired Rothman to pursue his claim that his wife was mentally incompetent when she executed a will leaving her entire estate to charity. Skadden hired psychiatric experts for the case, but during discovery, a Skadden lawyer working under Rothman allowed one of the experts to destroy and withhold notes that should have been introduced. As a penalty, in 1987, the judge in the case barred two expert witnesses from testifying.

Shortly afterward, Weinberg settled the case by giving $35 million to the charities. In the case just settled, Weinberg contended he was never told about the destruction of documents and that Rothman urged him to settle to cover up the discovery violation.

Rothman, the onetime head of MGM/UA, has represented a host of entertainment entities including the Walt Disney Co., HBO, 20th Century Fox and Paramount.

The plaintiff was represented by Allan Browne of Browne & Woods. Skadden Arps was represented by Maxwell Blecher of Blecher & Collins.

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