Tarnished Twenty- The FindLaw Sports Law Blog

Judge Tosses Donald Sterling's Very Bad $1B NBA Lawsuit

Ousted Los Angeles Clippers owner Donald Sterling has been doing everything in his legal power to fight the sale of his team. And his most audacious lawsuit, a $1 billion claim against the NBA, Commissioner Adam Silver, former Commissioner David Stern, his wife Rochelle Sterling, and two neurologists who declared him mentally unfit, was emphatically dismissed by a federal court in California.

It's merely the latest in a long line of setbacks for the racist, sexually harassing, domestic abusing slumlord, but in true Donald Sterling fashion, he has vowed to keep suing.

A Court Unkind

Sterling's lawsuit laid out several Constitutional claims, chief among them that the NBA the NBA violated his Fourteenth Amendment and Fifteenth Amendment rights by not giving him the chance to respond to the NBA's $2.5 million fine, lifetime ban, and termination of his Clippers ownership. Did Sterling have any legal basis for these claims? No.

As the court had to remind him (and his attorneys), private organizations like the NBA are immune from constitutional violations, "no matter how discriminatory or wrongful." U.S. District Judge Fernando M. Olguin added, "even assuming plaintiff had established that the NBA parties are government actors, Sterling's own allegations show that he did receive notice and an opportunity to be heard."

Antitrust Me

Sterling also claimed the NBA violated federal antitrust laws by restraining his ability to sell the Clippers. But by his own admission, "Sterling signed a letter on May 22, 2014, permitting Rochelle to 'negotiate' with the NBA and others for the sale of the Clippers."

And even if the sale was forced, or "only open to members of the billionaires club," the court was "skeptical Sterling suffered any injury at all, let alone an antitrust injury." It turns out only letting billionaires bid for your franchise is a good thing -- Sterling did get $2 billion for his stake in the team.

We can't wait to see what Sterling whines about next.

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