Madoff victim seeks modification of divorce

The New York Supreme Court is currently considering a divorce case that could have wide-reaching implications for people ending their marriages in the Empire State.

Steven Simkin and Laura Blank divorced in 2006 and when their assets were split, Simkin put part of his share in funds managed by convicted Ponzi-schemer Bernie Madoff, while his wife received her share in cash, according to the New York Times.

After the Madoff scheme came to light in 2008, Simkin filed a lawsuit seeking modification to the divorce. Specifically, he wanted to alter the settlement, arguing that he should receive money from Blank to make up for his losses.

According to the news source, Simkin’s suit relies on the doctrine of “mutual mistake.” The news source reports that under the doctrine, contracts can be voided if both parties are incorrect about a vital part of the agreement. Simkin’s divorce attorney said that both parties mistakenly believed that they had an investment account with Madoff, when, in fact, the account was worthless.

Some legal experts say that the ruling in this case could have wide-reaching effects but law professor Lawrence Cunningham told CBS New York that he expects the court to make a narrow ruling in the case.