I posted a few days ago telling you I was very surprised to see OJ Simpson’s attorney, and named executor, openly saying he would be stonewalling creditors claims by the Goldman family. To me, that is not smart! I said on April 13th, in my previous post on this topic, the following:

Now I am not involved in this case but I can assure you I would strongly advise against an executor, or an attorney, going public with such strong statements. If he must go public perhaps he should say, “I am saddened by the loss of my friend OJ and will do everything, carefully following my fiduciary duties and Nevada law, to carry out OJ’s wishes.” The key words being: 1) fiduciary and 2) law.

Again, I stress that an executor has a fiduciary duty AND there are laws to follow. Not doing that would be a mistake and can expose a person to civil damages and probably criminal damages if it’s bad enough. I am glad to see Mr. LaVergne took back his previous comments. I am sure he was just emotional after the death of his friend. The latest article in the Las Vegas Review Journal says:

LaVergne said Monday that he was speaking as Simpson’s longtime lawyer when he said he didn’t want the Goldmans to receive any money. Now, LaVergne said that he will willingly work with the Goldmans and Browns to determine their claims on Simpson’s estate.

“I’ve gone from one extreme to the other,” LaVergne said. “So it’s important for me now to be hyper transparent.”

Under Nevada law, Simpson’s estate will have to make other payments before awarding money to judgments. Payments such as administrative costs, funeral expenses and other debts will need to be handled first.

Yes, I should think he will willingly work with the families! It’s not the wild wild west! Well, Nevada is in certain ways but there are laws! Again, I am a California probate attorney so am not in a position to comment about Nevada laws except I can safely say that just about every state probably imposes a FIDUCIARY DUTY on the executor. Going to the media and stating as he did is not super smart in my opinion:

“It’s my hope that the Goldmans get zero, nothing,” he told the Review-Journal. “Them specifically. And I will do everything in my capacity as the executor or personal representative to try and ensure that they get nothing.”

Behind the scenes he may well do what he can to prevent the Goldmans from getting money, or minimizing that,… but there are laws and I will assume that he will follow those laws! Again, I am sure Mr. LaVergne was just emotional and spoke out of turn. He lost a friend and it’s a very emotional situation! I see that a lot in California probate cases – families are upset, they say stuff, and then they think it through in the days to follow.

The OJ Simpson story is tragic no matter what. Lives were lost! Lives were ruined! It’s bad all the way around. My sympathies to all affected.

Las Vegas Review Journal article link to follow.

-John Palley

O.J.’s executor walks back ‘harsh remark,’ says he will work with Goldmans

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