Entertainment & Sports Law

Clippers sale is completed as Donald Sterling files challenge with appeals court

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A probate judge’s final order on Tuesday cleared the way for the sale of the Los Angeles Clippers to former Microsoft chief executive Steve Ballmer for $2 billion.

The sale was completed as Donald Sterling sought an emergency order from a California appeals court to unwind the sale, report the Los Angeles Times and Courthouse News Service. Judge Michael Levanas signed a court order authorizing the sale on Tuesday “and we were ready,” Ballmer’s lawyer, Adam Streisand of Loeb & Loeb, said in a statement. “Within minutes, the deal was signed, sealed and delivered.” The New York Times and CNN also have stories on the sale of the team.

A press release credits Streisand for developing the strategy to seek a court order under California Probate Code section 1310(b), “a provision so rarely invoked that most probate attorneys were unaware of its existence before the Sterling case.” The section allows a probate court to issue an order allowing a trustee to complete a transaction pending an appeal if a delay would cause irreparable injury or loss.

“Even if, and it’s a huge if, Donald Sterling could get a different result from the Court of Appeal, the sale is a done deal as allowed by the probate court’s 1310(b) order,” Streisand said in the press release.

Levanas had issued a tentative ruling on July 28 that Donald Sterling’s wife, Shelly Sterling, could sell the team as sole trustee because Donald Sterling was incapacitated and unable to serve as co-trustee. Doctors hired by Shelly Sterling had concluded Donald Sterling had early Alzheimer’s.

Still pending is a $1 billion antitrust suit filed by Sterling against the NBA, the Times says. On Monday the NBA filed a counterclaim alleging Sterling had caused “incalculable harm” to the association for making racist statements caught on tape.

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