Louis Angelos has agreed to nullify his purchase of his father’s storied law firm, granting a victory to his mother and brother in their ongoing legal battle, lawyers for Georgia and John Angelos said Thursday.
Though details of the agreement remain secret because the case is under seal, lawyers said the deal would invalidate Louis Angelos’ sale of the firm to himself.
A conservator will take over the firm in accordance with Maryland law. The conservator has not yet been named, though Baltimore County Circuit Judge Keith Truffer is expected to appoint one shortly.
“This is a complete and utter victory for the law firm, the clients of the law firm, the lawyers at the law firm, the Angelos family and Baltimore City,” said Doug Gansler, the former Maryland attorney general who is representing Georgia Angelos.
Laywers for the two parties disagreed on who now owns the firm. Daniel M. Petrocelli, who represents John Angelos, said the deal restores ownership of the firm to Georgia Angelos, the wife of 93-year-old Orioles owner Peter Angelos and his attorney-in-fact. In that case, a conservator must take over because Georgia Angelos is not a lawyer.
Jeffrey Nusinov, the lawyer for Louis Angelos, said the deal returns ownership of the firm to Peter Angelos. Because he is incapacitated, the conservator must take over, but Louis Angelos will remain part of the firm’s management, Nusinov said.
“We are pleased that we were able to work out the next steps for transitioning the law firm,” Nusinov said. “As he has for years, Lou Angelos remains committed to the firm’s clients and his father’s legacy.”
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Bar Counsel Lydia Lawless was present at Thursday’s hearing and participated in out-of-court discussions. She declined to comment.
Peter Angelos built his law firm into a powerhouse that handled major asbestos-related litigation. The firm’s future came into doubt in 2018, when Angelos fell ill and lost the ability to manage his business interests, including his majority stake in the Baltimore Orioles, the city’s Major League Baseball team.
Louis Angelos, who is a lawyer, has run the firm since then and argued in court filings that his father intended for him to take over. He also claimed to have sold the firm to himself at a price to be determined later through a promissory note.
Georgia and John Angelos disputed that purchase and claimed that Peter Angelos intended for the firm to be shut down after he could no longer run it. Thursday’s agreement on the law firm’s ownership wraps up a key disagreement in the ongoing Angelos family legal saga that started when Louis Angelos sued his mother and brother in June.
Nusinov said Thursday that the claims Peter Angelos wanted to close his firm are “ridiculous.”
“Peter Angelos’s devotion to his clients is legendary and everyone knows his practice was his most treasured of his many accomplishments,” he said.
The lawyers for Georgia Angelos said that the agreement happened because Louis Angelos’s lawyers knew his sale of the law firm to himself wouldn’t hold up in court.
“It wasn’t a transfer that was supported by Maryland law,” said Jeffrey Lenkov, one of Georgia Angelos’ lawyers. “They knew that this was the inevitable result of the hearing today.”
Lenkov said the conservator will evaluate the law firm’s business interests and decide what to do next.
“By no means is it a method to dissolve that law firm,” he said.
The dispute among the Angelos family members came into public view this summer, when Louis Angelos filed a lawsuit against his brother alleging that John had manipulated their mother and was exerting unilateral control over the Orioles and the family’s other business interests.
In an amended complaint filed this week, Louis Angelos accused his mother and brother of siphoning tens of millions of dollars out of Peter Angelos’s personal bank account in an effort to shield the money from potential creditors.
The amended complaint claims the pair feared liability stemming from the law firm, which faces a class-action legal malpractice lawsuit because of a missed deadline in a decades-old asbestos case.