Donald Sterling has dropped his lawsuit which accuses the NBA and wife Shelly Sterling of fraud in the events that led up to the sale of the Los Angeles Clippers to Steve Ballmer. He dropped the suit to consolidate his claims into an antitrust suit that he still has pending against the league.
“We believe that we can more efficiently address all the issues in our pending federal action,” Bobby Samini, one of Sterling’s attorneys, wrote in an email Monday.
Sterling filed the Superior Court lawsuit in July in the midst of the probate court trial that eventually cleared the path for Steve Ballmer to complete his $2-billion purchase of the Clippers.
The lawsuit, which claimed the sale process inflicted “severe emotional distress” on Sterling, sought unspecified damages and an injunction to halt the transaction.
A judge in Los Angeles also dismissed a defamation lawsuit filed by Sterling’s mistress, V. Stiviano, against Shelly.
The judge found V. Stiviano presented no evidence to support her claim that Shelly Sterling called her a thief and an embezzler in hundreds if not thousands of media reports. He said she did not present a single quotation to support her claim.
“Stiviano does not identify to whom any such statement was made,” Fruin wrote. “There is no information from which it may be determined that any statement, defamatory or not, was made by Mrs. Sterling at all.”
The judge also rejected Stiviano’s claim that former Clippers president Andy Roeser also defamed her at the instruction of Shelly Sterling. He said there was no evidence of that.
Sadly, this news doesn’t mean that we’ve seen the last of Sterling. He may have dropped the fraud lawsuit, but a hearing is scheduled for November 6 for his antitrust suit against the NBA.
The sale of the Clippers to Ballmer is done. There’s nothing Sterling can do to get the team back. But he can still sue for damages if he feels that he was unfairly forced to sell the team after audio of him making racist remarks surfaced this spring.
It’s highly unlikely that Sterling wins the suit, but what this means is that unfortunately, he’s not going away anytime soon. As expected.