Tarnished Twenty- The FindLaw Sports Law Blog

Donald Sterling Settles LA Clippers Lawsuit Over $2 Billion Sale

Nearly 2.5 years after the lawsuit was filed, Donald Sterling, the NBA, his wife, and several others that Sterling was suing, have settled the case over the controversial, record-setting sale of the Los Angeles Clippers basketball team.

The $2 billion sale in 2014 came shortly after Sterling was banned from the NBA as a result of racist comments that he made that were captured on a recording. Sterling's wife, Shelly, had Sterling declared as incapacitated, and was able to make the record-setting sale from the Sterling family trust to Microsoft billionaire Steve Ballmer.

Bravado Over Brains

While Donald Sterling's attorney claims that he is pleased with the settlement, no details have been released regarding the specific terms of the agreement. The case was dismissed earlier this year in March; however, an appeal was filed. Surprisingly, Sterling's attorney did not file an opening brief by the deadline. The settlement may have been in the works before the deadline, or it may have been that Sterling's attorney knew that there was no way to win and was finally able to convince Sterling to cut his losses and stop posturing.

Sterling suit was preventing him from receiving the remainder of the sale proceeds as his wife had agreed to indemnify the NBA from any lawsuits resulting from the sale. To accomplish this, the NBA held $1 billion dollars in escrow pending the resolution of the litigation. Additionally, Sterling paid $12 million dollars for the Clippers in 1981, which is quite a bit less than the $2 billion dollar sale price, even adjusting for inflation.

Domestic Disputes of the Rich and Famous

While some might feel bad for the 82-year-old Donald Sterling, he became a rather hated man when the recording of his racist statements were leaked. However, the situation that led to the recording being released is controversial. A "friend" of Donald Sterling, V. Stiviano, had received numerous high-ticket item gifts, including a Ferrari, two Bentleys, a Range Rover, and a $2.6 million home. Shelly Sterling sued Stiviano, then the recording appeared and crushed Sterling's career as the Clippers' owner.

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