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New lawsuit filed by Donald Sterling as earlier court case winds down

The new lawsuit names Shelly Sterling, the NBA, NBA commissioner Adam Silver and the Los Angeles Clippers

This week, Donald Sterling’s legal team argued on his behalf in the probate case over a dispute with his estranged wife, Shelly Sterling, but that did not stop them filing another lawsuit related to the future of the Los Angeles Clippers.

The new lawsuit names Shelly Sterling, the NBA, NBA commissioner Adam Silver and the Los Angeles Clippers. Under the suit, Donald Sterling is seeking damages and he alleges they “defrauded him and violated corporate law in attempting to sell the franchise to former Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer,” ESPN reported. Donald Sterling is also seeking an injunction to block the $2 billion sale.

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FURTHER READING:

Probate trial gets delayed as future of Sterling family ownership of LA Clippers remains in limbo

LA Clippers likely to be sold as Donald Sterling’s future role in team is unclear

NBA players support Silver’s ‘Sterling’ decision, but litigation may follow

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"The new lawsuit states the seller of the team is not Donald, and it's not Shelly – the seller of the team is the corporation that owns the team, and that's LAC Basketball Club Inc.," Donald Sterling's attorney, Bobby Samini, said in a statement to ESPN. "When Donald bought the team, the shares of the corporation are only in Donald's name. They were only issued to Donald, so Donald owns the shares of the corporation. He's the sole shareholder. He put the shares up into the trust in 1989, and when we revoked the trust, the shares go back down to him."

Pierce O'Donnell, who represents Shelly Sterling, called the new lawsuit "a frivolous, last-ditch act of desperation by a delusional, bitter man." O'Donnell claims Donald Sterling is "obsessed with ruining a record-setting $2 billion sale of the Los Angeles Clippers – a sale that would solve the problems his racist rant started three months ago."

There is still another lawsuit filed by Donald Sterling against the NBA in which he wants $1 billion in damages for antitrust issues.

In response to a racist rant made in private (a recording of which was later leaked to television) the NBA has imposed a lifetime ban on Donald Sterling, fined him $2.5 million and is working to get the Clippers sold to new owners.

Since then, Donald Sterling was found to be incapacitated, possibly having Alzheimer's, by two physicians. Shelly Sterling has since taken over the Sterling Family Trust, which owns the Clippers, a move now being fought by Donald Sterling’s legal team.

On July 23, the defense rested its case in the probate-related dispute. Donald Sterling’s attorneys reject the claim that he is suffering from dementia or early-stage Alzheimer’s. One witness called by his lawyers, Dr. Jeffrey Cummings, said Shelly Sterling should not have been present when doctors examined Donald Sterling. Cummings said Donald Sterling just suffers from “mild cognitive impairment,” The Los Angeles Times reported.

Closing arguments in the case are scheduled for early next week.

Meanwhile, it was reported that Donald Sterling met with Ballmer at Sterling's house earlier this week. The meeting was described as “cordial,” The Los Angeles Timesreported. Donald Sterling has also met privately with Shelly Silver, recently. Yet, there is no reason to believe the two meetings will lead to a breakthrough in the dispute.

Contributing Author

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Ed Silverstein

Ed Silverstein is a veteran writer and editor for magazines, websites and newspapers. A graduate of Harvard's Kennedy School of Government, he has won several...

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