Via Above the Law, I learned of this article in the Los Angeles Times. Frank McCourt, owner of the L.A. Dodgers baseball team, is engaged in a scorched-earth divorce battle, and this article details how Larry Silverstein, a lawyer for McCourt, apparently took it upon himself to change one word in a signed contract between McCourt and his wife Jamie:
Frank McCourt’s lawyers have said Silverstein simply made a drafting error and corrected it. In his testimony, Frank said Silverstein did not materially change the agreement by substituting an exhibit that read “inclusive” for one that read “exclusive” after the parties had signed the document.
Unsurprisingly, this change has become an issue in the McCourt’s dispute, and it could create problems for Silverstein. The moral of this story? Don’t make any changes to a signed contract without getting everyone’s consent.
Incidentally, when drafting I avoid inclusive and exclusive, for purposes of stating dates or otherwise, so I expect that the provision in question was not a thing of beauty.