Update: Mistrial in Malpractice Case Against Nelson Mullins Atty

Posted by Arlin Crisco on Jul 22, 2022 1:06:22 PM

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Editor's note: This article has been updated to reflect the mistrial in the case. 

Fort Lauderdale, FL— Trial over whether a Nelson Mullins attorney committed malpractice in planning an estate worth hundreds of millions ended in mistrial Thursday, after jurors indicated they were deadlocked.   Scott, et al. v. Rosen, et al., CACE2000868

Florida 17th Circuit Court Judge Jeffrey Levenson declared the mistrial following more than a day of deliberations and after jurors indicated they had deliberated more than six hours on one of the counts - legal malpractice - without reaching a consensus.  

Dr. Steven Scott, a Florida physician, founded a pair of medical service businesses that ultimately sold for more than $850 million total in the 2000s. During that time, Scott and his wife, Rebecca Scott, were represented by Carl Rosen, then of Broad & Cassel, which subsequently merged with Nelson Mullins. While representing the Scotts, Rosen created roughly 30 trusts intended to distribute much of their estate. 

The Scotts argue that they intended those trusts to distribute their estate equally among their five children, while providing for charitable contributions and other causes. However, they contend Rosen structured one of the trusts to give the Scotts' oldest child, Robert Scott, a disproportionate share of funds.

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The nearly two-month long trial centered largely on the Scotts’ intentions in creating the trust and Rosen’s representation of Robert Scott at the same time he represented the Scott parents. 

During Wednesday’s closings, Levine Kellogg Lehman Schneider & Grossman’s Lawrence Kellogg, representing the plaintiffs, walked jurors through evidence he said showed Rosen worked against the Scott parents’ wishes in structuring a subtrust that could be manipulated so that Robert Scott could secure a larger share of funds for himself. 

“[Rosen] is a sophisticated estate and trust lawyer and created very complicated and sophisticated documents, all designed to meet each one of the [Scott parents’] goals, except [the subtrust at issue],” Kellogg said. “It upended the entire meticulously designed estate plan.”

Kellogg requested more than $50 million in damages, plus a finding that punitives were warranted. 

But the defense argues Steven Scott intended the subtrust to pay out more money to Robert Scott. On Wednesday, Williams & Connolly's Robert Cary walked jurors through documents he said showed Steven Scott intended to reward his son for heading one of the companies that was ultimately sold. Cary argued that those documents stood in contrast to Steven Scott’s current contentions.

“Memories fade over time, and people may convince themselves that things happen in a way that they did not in fact happen,” Cary said. “But the one thing that doesn’t change is the documents. They show us what happened.”

CVN will update this article as events warrant. 

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Topics: Florida, Scott, et al. v. Rosen, et al.