Contract Law

Paul Weiss Partner Gets Divorce Deal Do-Over Because of ‘Mutual Mistake’: Madoff Account


A partner at Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison who paid his ex-wife $6.6 million in a divorce settlement may be able to get a do-over because of his Madoff investment losses.

A New York appeals court reinstated the suit by lawyer Steven Simkin in a 3-2 decision, according to stories by the New York Post, the New York Daily News and the New York Law Journal. Simkin says he thought he had $5.4 million in a Madoff account at the time of his 2006 divorce, and he paid his wife half the money as part of the settlement.

Simkin had claimed a mutual mistake merited reformation of the deal, and the appeals court ruled the claim could go forward. “Contrary to defendant’s contention, mutual mistake can be based on a statement by a third party,” the majority said.

Richard Emery, the lawyer for Simkin’s ex-wife, plans an appeal. There was no mutual mistake, he told the New York Law Journal, “because at the time, Simkin could have redeemed all the money from his Madoff [account] and in fact, he did redeem a substantial portion of it to pay his wife.”

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