Entertainment & Sports Law

Lawyers in Donald Sterling case battle over removal to federal court for medical privacy issue

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Lawyers for Shelly Sterling claim in an emergency brief filed Sunday in federal court that Donald Sterling’s bid to remove a probate case to federal court is an attempt to delay resolution of the dispute over his capacity and sabotage the sale of the Los Angeles Clippers.

Lawyers for Donald Sterling filed the removal notice late Thursday, saying a federal court should determine whether Donald Sterling’s privacy rights were violated by the release of his medical records to Shelly Sterling and to the public through court documents, report USA Today, the Los Angeles Times Sports Now blog, the New York Times and the Orange County Register.

A probate hearing had been scheduled to begin Monday morning in Los Angeles to determine whether Shelly Sterling acted properly when she invoked the capacity clause to oust Donald Sterling as a trustee in the Sterling Family Trust.

Donald Sterling’s lawyers say the medical records cannot be used in the probate hearing, according to Sports Now. Shelly Sterling’s lawyers counter that Donald Sterling authorized release of the medical records when he agreed to the family trust, which allows Donald or Shelly Sterling to be removed as a trustee if two doctors determine the person lacks capacity.

Shelly Sterling has an agreement to sell the Clippers to former Microsoft chairman Steve Ballmer for $2 billion. The sale deadline is July 15, but it could be extended to Aug. 15.

If the case returns to probate court, Donald Sterling’s lawyers plan to focus on the role played by an examining neurologist, Dr. Meril Platzer. The evening after Platzer’s examination, Platzer dined with Shelly and Donald Sterling, along with Donald Sterling’s lawyer and a family friend, at the posh Polo Lounge at the Beverly Hills Hotel, the New York Times says.

Donald Sterling’s lawyer, Bobby Samini, says it was inappropriate for Platzer to socialize with Donald Sterling, and Platzer may have inappropriately used information from the dinner in her evaluation. “The focus in the trial will be very heavy” on Platzer, Samini told the Times.

Related articles:

ABAJournal.com: “Lawyer claims Donald Sterling threatened to take him out; judge denies injunction”

ABAJournal.com: “NBA reportedly accuses Sterling of trying to persuade Stiviano to lie about the infamous recording”

ABAJournal.com: “NBA owner Donald Sterling suspended for life, and experts say his legal options are limited”

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