The Jacksonville Jaguars' Paul Vance apparently fumbled in drafting a series of team contracts, and now he's out of a job.
The Jaguars' new owner fired Vance as the team's general counsel and vice president of football operations Sunday, ESPN reports. A potentially costly typo is likely to blame.
The typo appears in the contracts of seven former assistant coaches who signed contract extensions in 2010, according to ESPN.
The team intended the extensions to last two years, through the end of the 2011 season. Instead, the contracts explicitly state the agreements "shall terminate on the later of January 31, 2012 or the day after the Jaguars' last football game of the 2012 season and playoffs," according to ESPN.
The Jaguars' Paul Vance apparently did not catch the error, but he admits the contracts should have said "2011" instead of 2012. The former assistants now want to be paid for the 2012 season, which could cost the team as much as $4 million, ESPN reports.
As lawyers are aware, typographical errors in a contract can be binding, unless a court finds the typo creates confusion about a key issue or misidentifies a party. Unfortunately for the Jaguars, the typo "2012" arguably does not create confusion because its meaning is clear.
The alleged error is embarrassing for the Jaguars' Paul Vance, who's served as general counsel since the team's inception in 1994. Vance has also served as the Jaguars' vice president for football operations since 2001.
But the error can also serve as a lesson for general counsel to pay closer attention to their company's contract review process. Many in-house legal departments use contract checklists to reduce the risk of errors.
Despite being fired by the Jaguars, Paul Vance will still be available as a consultant for the team, the Associated Press reports. Vance's former No. 2, Sashi Brown, will take over as general counsel.
- New Jaguars owner dismisses longtime general counsel Paul Vance amid contract dispute (The Associated Press)
- Vance out, Brown in as Jaguars counsel (The Daily Record)
- Lessons Learned the Hard Way: Business Contracts (FindLaw)
- Do's and Don'ts: Contracts Terms (FindLaw)