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Judge turns down Donald Sterling’s bid to remove case to federal court over medical privacy issue

Posted Jul 8, 2014 10:00 AM CDT
By Debra Cassens Weiss

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A federal judge has refused a request by Donald Sterling to remove to federal court a probate case that claims Sterling does not have the capacity to remain as a trustee and block the sale of the Los Angeles Clippers.

Donald Sterling had contended a federal court should decide whether his privacy rights were violated by the release of his medical records. U.S. District Judge George Wu disagreed, saying the probate court is “more than capable” of evaluating the medical privacy issues, report the New York Times and the Wall Street Journal (sub. req.).

Sterling’s estranged wife, Shelly Sterling, says she has the authority to sell the team as trustee for the family trust. The probate hearing will determine whether she acted properly to remove Donald Sterling as a trustee under terms of the trust, which call for removal when two doctors determine a trustee lacks capacity. Donald Sterling’s lawyers claim he agreed to the medical exams under false pretenses.

Shelly Sterling sought the medical exams after Donald Sterling was banned for life from the National Basketball Association for making racist remarks caught on tape.

As the probate case began on Monday, Shelly Sterling’s lawyer Pierce O’Donnell made a "grand gesture" and called Donald Sterling as his first witness, the Times says. Donald Sterling was not in the room. He is expected to be present when the case resumes today, however.

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