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Court rejects Donald Sterling’s appeal of Clippers sale

Former Clippers owner Donald Sterling attends a playoff game between the Clippers and the Golden State Warriors at Staples Center on July 28, 2014.

Former Clippers owner Donald Sterling attends a playoff game between the Clippers and the Golden State Warriors at Staples Center on July 28, 2014.

(Robyn Beck / AFP/Getty Images)

Donald Sterling suffered another legal defeat Monday when California’s 2nd District Court of Appeal affirmed the probate ruling that cleared the way for the record $2-billion sale of the Clippers.

The three-justice panel wrote in the opinion that evidence “overwhelmingly supported” the decision last year by Los Angeles County Superior Court Judge Michael Levanas.

“On appeal, Donald fails to demonstrate any legal error and fails to consider the facts in accordance with the proper standards on appeal,” the opinion said.

Sterling wanted the appellate court to undo the sale to former Microsoft Chief Executive Steve Ballmer. Instead, the justices assailed the appeal. They wrote that it “suffers from numerous deficiencies” and that a reply brief “contains hardly any citation ... to support his factual assertions.”

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Further, the justices pointed out that Sterling cited no authority to “undo” the Clippers’ sale and that the request contradicted an earlier claim by the former owner that the sale couldn’t be unwound once completed.

“He has devoted most of his briefs to rearguing the facts and relies on evidence expressly rejected by the probate court,” the opinion said.

Last year, Levanas ruled that Sterling’s wife, Rochelle, acted properly when two doctors found her husband to be mentally incapacitated and she removed him from the Sterling Family Trust before agreeing to sell the Clippers.

At the time, Levanas rejected virtually all of Donald Sterling’s arguments and agreed that the Clippers could enter a “death spiral” if not sold to Ballmer. The appellate court supported Levanas’ conclusions and noted that the sale price caused “Donald to congratulate Rochelle.”

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The failed appeal is one front in Donald Sterling’s ongoing legal fight related to the Clippers. He is suing his wife, the NBA, Commissioner Adam Silver and others in federal court over the sale.

Sterling filed to divorce his wife in August. He also sued TMZ over publishing a recording of his inflammatory comments about African Americans last year that created a national uproar and led to the sale of the Clippers.

Twitter: @nathanfenno


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