Donald Sterling wants to question Adam Silver in suit against NBA

Then-Clippers owner Donald Sterling and V. Stiviano attend a game against the Sacramento Kings in 2013.
(Mark J. Terrill / Associated Press)

Donald Sterling wants to question NBA Commissioner Adam Silver and V. Stiviano in the former Clippers owner’s federal antitrust lawsuit against the league.

A filing Thursday in U.S. District Court in Los Angeles outlined 18 witnesses Sterling may call in the case, including his wife, Shelly, retired NBA Commissioner David Stern and former Clippers interim Chief Executive Dick Parsons.

The renewed push in the litigation seeking in excess of $1 billion in damages over the sale of the franchise came after the possibility of a settlement emerged last month.


Maxwell Blecher, the veteran antitrust attorney representing Sterling, and an NBA attorney started negotiating a possible dismissal during a mid-October meeting, according to court documents.

But Blecher withdrew as Sterling’s attorney earlier this week. In an email, Blecher wrote, “I am not aware of any ongoing settlement discussions.”

Bobby Samini, Sterling’s remaining attorney, and an NBA spokesman didn’t return requests for comment.

Thursday’s court filing describes Sterling’s lifetime ban and $2.5-million fine for recorded comments to Stiviano about blacks that become public in April as “egregiously excessive and utterly draconian.” Sterling wants to conduct “broad discovery” into the circumstances of the recording he maintains was made illegally.

In the same document, the NBA, which countersued Sterling in August, said it will present evidence that Sterling’s punishment was “entirely permissible and fully justified” and that he had “no reasonable expectation of privacy” during the recording. The league lists 16 potential witnesses, including Sterling and Stiviano.

Samini estimated a trial could be scheduled for December 2016; the NBA suggested March 2016.


Sterling sued the NBA in May, seeking damages in excess of $1 billion, after his wife agreed to sell the Clippers to former Microsoft Chief Executive Steve Ballmer.

The NBA said Shelly Sterling indemnified the league against litigation by her husband; Sterling described the agreement as “supposedly legal” in the court filing.

During a separate court case over the summer that led to the franchise’s sale, Sterling pledged to battle the league for the rest of his life.

“And, until I die, I will be suing the NBA to make them pay for the terrible violations of antitrust that they have imposed on me and my family,” Sterling said.

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