A judge says that a prominent New York real estate lawyer can't recover money he paid in a divorce agreement based on the belief that the ex-couple had millions invested with Bernard Madoff.

Steven Simkin says he gave Laura Blank $6.6 million as her share of marital assets in July 2006 after more than 30 years of marriage. The figure included $2.7 million, half the value of the Madoff account that Simkin then kept.

But in reality the account with Bernard L. Madoff Investment Securities was empty.

A Manhattan Supreme Court justice ruled that Blank didn't have to "shoulder her share" of the Madoff losses and threw out the case.

Simkin is a partner at Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison, a well-known law firm where he heads the real estate department.