Fort Lauderdale, FL—Trial opened Wednesday over whether a Florida attorney breached his duty to a wealthy Florida couple when planning their estate valued in the hundreds of millions of dollars. Scott, et al. v. Rosen, et al., 20000CACE868.
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 claim that they intended those trusts to distribute their estate equally among their five children, while providing for charitable contributions and other causes. However, they claim Rosen structured one of the trusts to give the Scotts' oldest child, Robert Scott, a disproportionate share of funds.
During Wednesday’s openings, Steven and Rebecca Scotts’ attorney, Conrad Scherer’s William Scherer, walked jurors through evidence he said showed Rosen committed fraud by creating the trust so that it could be manipulated to secure a far larger share of funds for Robert Scott, whom Rosen also represented.
Scherer told jurors that the trust, created in 2010, was meant to be funded from a future sale of one of the Scott parents’ businesses, Phoenix Physicians LLC, and that, as with the other trusts Rosen created, the Scott parents intended each of their children to receive an equal share. However, Scherer said evidence would show Rosen drafted the trust so that it could be moved to Nevada and modified to Rob Scott’s benefit.
‘The lawyers, with Mr. Rosen and his firm, put their own financial interests ahead of Dr. and Mrs. Scott,” Scherer said. “This case is… about a violation of their trust in their oldest son and in their lawyer, and the lawyers’ law firm. Trust is a big issue here.”
However, the defense contends that Rosen created the trust at issue to further the Scott parents’ intent of rewarding Robert Scott for his role in leading Phoenix. During Wednesday’s openings, Williams & Connolly’s Robert Cary told jurors Robert Scott served as CEO of Phoenix with an eye toward increasing its value, and that Steven Scott created the trust at issue in order to incentivize his son. “[Steven Scott’s] strategy was to give Rob Scott ownership in Phoenix, to motivate him to grow the company so that the entire family would make more money,” Cary said. “We will show you document, after document, after document, proving that that’s the case.”
Wednesday’s openings followed two days of voir dire, which CVN also covered. Trial in the case is expected to run through late July. CVN will provide streaming gavel-to-gavel coverage of proceedings, as well as updates via its news page.
Email Arlin Crisco at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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