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Jaguars' VP Paul Vance Sacked Over Alleged Typo in Contracts

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By Andrew Chow, Esq. on January 12, 2012 3:05 AM

The Jacksonville Jaguars' Paul Vance has been fired as general counsel, and a costly typo in a series of contracts may be to blame.

Vance, the Jaguars' general counsel since 1994, also served as the team's senior vice president of football operations, ESPN reports. The team fired him Sunday.

Paul Vance's firing is apparently linked to a typo in the contracts of seven former assistant coaches, ESPN reports.

The assistants signed contract extensions in 2010. While the Jaguars intended the extensions to expire at the end of the 2011 season, the contracts actually 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 assistants, who have not been named, want to be paid for the 2012 season. That could cost the Jacksonville Jaguars as much as $4 million, ESPN reports.

The Jaguars' Paul Vance admits the contracts should have said "2011," according to ESPN.

Typographical errors, even unintentional ones, can be binding. If challenged in court, a judge will usually uphold a contract if the typo does not materially change the nature of the agreement. But if a typo creates confusion about a key issue, a judge may strike down parts, or all, of the contract.

In the Jaguars' case, there's no confusion about what "2012" means. That's likely why the Jaguars blamed the error on their top lawyer Paul Vance and fired him.

The Jaguars' new owner, Shahid Khan, promoted assistant general counsel Sashi Brown to replace Vance. Despite being fired by the Jaguars, Paul Vance will still be available as a consultant for the team, the Associated Press reports.

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