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Jurisdictional issue delays Sterling trial

Donald Sterling Questions Doctor's Findings

By LINDA DEUTSCH and TAMI ABDOLLAH

LOS ANGELES (AP) -- A jurisdictional issue delayed Monday's scheduled start of a trial focusing on whether Donald Sterling's estranged wife had the authority under terms of a family trust to unilaterally negotiate a $2 billion sale of the Los Angeles Clippers.

Lawyers for Donald Sterling moved late last week to shift the case to federal court due to alleged medical privacy violations.

Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Michael Levanas delayed the start of the trial while Donald Sterling's lawyers sought to find a federal judge to decide whether to take the case. Levanas ordered parties to return to his court at 11 a.m. PDT.

Shelly Sterling was present but her husband was not.

"Unfortunately the case is in procedural limbo," said her attorney, Pierce O'Donnell.

Shelly Sterling struck the deal to sell the Clippers to former Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer after Donald Sterling's racist remarks to a girlfriend were publicized and the NBA moved to oust him as team owner.

In order to do so, she had two doctors examine her 80-year-old husband and they declared him mentally incapacitated and unable to act as an administrator of The Sterling Family Trust, which owns the Clippers.

The terms of the trust say incapacitation can be determined by two licensed doctors without ties to the family who are specialists in their field. A trustee must cooperate with such exams.

A court must find that Shelly Sterling acted in accordance with the trust and that the deal still applies - even though the trust has since been revoked by Donald Sterling - for the sale to proceed.

Donald Sterling's attorneys say that his wife "blindsided" him and he submitted to examinations under false pretenses. They allege there was undue influence in the doctors' findings, and that the exams and letters regarding his mental capacity were defective and incomplete.

They say that if he had been properly informed, he would have participated at a more convenient time instead of being pulled out of legal meetings.

"He would have also eaten properly and have been well rested for the examinations and focused on taking the exam with the full and complete understanding what it was for and the serious nature of the exam," they wrote in filings.

But Shelly Sterling's attorney said that Donald Sterling voluntarily went to take scans of his brain and there was no requirement to remind Donald Sterling, who is an attorney, or his legal team of the trust's conditions.

Also at issue is the question of what happens to a deal that hasn't been closed when a trust is revoked. Donald Sterling revoked the trust on June 9 - weeks after Shelly Sterling negotiated the deal with Ballmer.

Shelly Sterling's attorneys also contend that finishing the deal is part of "winding down" the trust's affairs and that she has an obligation to close or Ballmer will sue.

Donald Sterling's attorneys argue that the probate court lacks jurisdiction and that winding down affairs refers to passive actions, not a sale that markedly changes the assets in the trust and its value.

On Sunday night, lawyers for Shelly Sterling and Balmer filed an emergency brief in federal court opposing Donald Sterling's motion to remove the trial to federal jurisdiction. They argued that no federal issue has been raised by him and he waived his right to move the case when he participated in the probate case with numerous motions. They argued that Levanas should order the trial to go forward in probate court.

Whatever happens, timing is tight. NBA owners must approve what would be a record-breaking deal and are scheduled to meet July 15 to vote. The brief filed Sunday said any delay will deny Shelly Sterling the chance to close the deal with Ballmer "without ever having had an opportunity for a hearing on the matter."

July 15 is the same day Ballmer's offer is set to expire - and there is no deal without the judge's approval of the sale.

If the sale isn't completed by Sept. 15, the league said it could seize the team and put it up for auction.

Join the discussion

1000|Char. 1000  Char.
ch3n02junkie July 06 2014 at 1:37 PM

like him or not, what is being done to Donald sterling is wrong. his personal beliefs should have not be an excuse to force him to sell what is his.

Flag Reply +37 rate up
9 replies
lrad0922 July 06 2014 at 1:40 PM

I know. Sterling is a jerk. A racist. Arrogant. Fornicator. You name it. And the NBA does have control over the ownership fraternity.

What bothers me is the fake and false outrage over this. When I see all of the fake outrage and babbling about how awful he is, I think those who cry the loudest are probably just as bad as him. We are a nation of hypocrites, Especially when race is involved.

Flag Reply +24 rate up
12 replies
Carol July 06 2014 at 2:20 PM

If Sterling is found to be mentally incapacitated, then how could he be held responsible for his so called racist rant?

Flag Reply +21 rate up
6 replies
caelcyndar5 July 06 2014 at 5:37 PM

A white man could rob a black man and its automatically investigated as a hate crime. A black man does the same to a white man, its just a regular crime. Racism against blacks is wrong, but black racism against whites is completely fine.

Flag Reply +20 rate up
4 replies
seban July 06 2014 at 1:57 PM

Maybe Spike's empire should be destroyed since he's a white hating racist. This is a media lynching of a man's empire by a female traitor engaged in the oldest profession in the world. Karma will ring V. Stiviano's door and take care of her.

Flag Reply +20 rate up
6 replies
aristars July 06 2014 at 2:09 PM

[If the sale isn't completed by Sept. 15, the league said it could seize the team and put it up for auction.]
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that will be unconstitutional! that's mob rule!! what is it with those very mean spirited people; the NBA, his wife, the attorneys? if he is not fit to have a say about selling his property, why he was fit when he said what he said to upset all the racist leaders in cluding the president? how come he is fit in one thing, and not fit in the other in a very short period of time?!! is that how this country treat the old? that man has made black millionaires in over 30 years, and may I add, lazy ones, they have never brought him a championship, and they just kept ******* up his money!!

Flag Reply +17 rate up
4 replies
moooooooooochelle July 07 2014 at 12:40 AM

QUEEN LATIFAH: A SECTION OF MY POOL IS FOR HAMMERED WHITE GIRLS

MICHELLE OBAMA: WHITES IN AMERICA ARE "INERADICABLY RACIST"

ICE-T: I DONT HATE WHITES I JUST GOT A DEATH WISH FOR THEM

SPIKE LEE: I WILL ONLY DO AN INTERVIEW WITH A BLACK PERSON

RICHARD WILLIAMS: SPIRLEA IS A BIG TALL WHITE TURKEY

CHARLES BARKLEY: THATS WHY I HATE WHITE PEOPLE

MICHAEL JORDAN: I WAS AGAINST ALL WHITE PEOPLE

MUHAMMAD ALI: ALL WHITE PEOPLE ARE THE DEVIL

TRAYVON MARTIN: CREEPY CRACKER

Flag Reply +16 rate up
3 replies
The Canoli King July 06 2014 at 7:37 PM

Are any BLACKS held accountable for their WORDS? ,or their actions action WHITES? e.g "O",holder,sharptongue, wright,or jack(off)sonjust to name a few of these RACIST PRICKS.

Flag Reply +12 rate up
2 replies
orion15stars The Canoli King July 06 2014 at 9:00 PM

Yes, pay attention in the future, and stop playing the victimizing bigot cheering on victimizing bigots..

Flag Reply 0 rate up
Carol The Canoli King July 06 2014 at 11:46 PM

Canoli King - In a word - NO.

Orion15 - you say yes? Prove it

Flag Reply 0 rate up
zzyxx July 06 2014 at 5:05 PM

if he goes to trial ..supreme court....next case to hear on racism will be al sharpton followed by louis ferrakan then spike lee then jesse jackson then......well it will never end now.

Flag Reply +10 rate up
2 replies
majorg1000 zzyxx July 06 2014 at 5:54 PM

Yawn...You are such a bigot.

Flag Reply 0 rate up
1 reply
coyfitness majorg1000 July 06 2014 at 6:45 PM

RACISM GOES BOTH WAYS *******!!

Flag +1 rate up
savannahswithgod zzyxx July 07 2014 at 12:56 PM

Sure it will end, soon as Cowboys and Indians ( now who can be the Indians today ) are played! The days are counting down!

Flag Reply 0 rate up
coopdabomb July 07 2014 at 5:58 AM

Just another sign America is heading toward socialism under this administration. Vote in Nov. to stop it

Flag Reply +5 rate up
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