Ventas seeks nearly $200 million from prestigious law firm for bad counsel

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Ventas Inc. alleges healthcare real estate company Sullivan & Cromwell committed legal malpractice more than six years ago, and is seeking $186 million from the firm.

The New York firm consulted the former Vencor Inc. through its 1998 split into Louisville-based companies Kindred Healthcare and Ventas, Kindred's landlord. Ventas now says it unfairly lost $80 million in a dispute with Kindred, because Kindred claimed the split loaded the nursing home company down with debt and forced the company into bankruptcy.
Ventas says Sullivan & Cromwell should have advised the entities they might have conflicting interests and should have separate lawyers in negotiations.

Sullivan & Cromwell, ranked the nation's fourth-best firm for corporate law by Board Member magazine, has denied the real estate investment trust's claims in a court filing. The suit, filed in Superior Court in Washington, D.C. in 2002, is expected to go to trial next year, Ventas said. Ventas didn't disclose the suit until last week's earnings report.