Sports

Court rejects Donald Sterling's last-chance petition

An appeals court Wednesday gave thumbs' up to Steve Ballmer's purchase of the Clippers, rejecting Donald Sterling's bid to halt the sale. STEPHEN BRASHEAR, GETTY IMAGES

Donald Sterling lost his last-chance bid to stop the sale of the Clippers when an appeals court rejected his petition Wednesday, citing the fact that the sale had closed a day earlier.

Sterling, who had owned the Clippers since 1981, was attempting to halt the $2 billion sale of the team to Steve Ballmer that culminated Tuesday.

“The evidence before this court indicates the sale of the Los Angeles Clippers to Steve Ballmer has closed,” the ruling from the state 2nd Court of Appeal stated. “Thus, there is nothing for this court to stay.”

Sterling was seeking to overturn a lower court’s ruling that cleared the path for the sale to Ballmer.

“Even if the sale had not closed,” the ruling said, “petitioner has failed to show that the balancing of the relative harm favors granting a temporary stay.”

Representatives for the embattled former owner said they were “deeply disappointed” by the court’s ruling. Donald Sterling had claimed in his petition that the sale occurred as the result of a “lone judge applying two novel legal interpretations.”

“Nevertheless, we are confident Donald will be completely vindicated in his federal case against the NBA,” lawyers Bobby Samini and Max Blecher said in a statement. “More importantly, we believe that the ‘popular’ ruling in the Probate matter is a serious blow to the Privacy rights for all Americans.”

Sterling filed a $1 billion lawsuit in May against the NBA, claiming the move to terminate his ownership “is unconstitutional, in breach of contract, in restraint of trade, in breach of fiduciary duties and ... is malicious and oppressive.”

On Monday, the NBA filed a counterclaim in federal court, saying Sterling caused “devastating and incalculable harm” to the league and is seeking to recover damages related to Sterling’s recorded racist comments.

“Shelly is thrilled that her decision to sell the Clippers to Steve Ballmer has been upheld by the Court of Appeal,” said Pierce O’Donnell, lead counsel for Shelly Sterling. “It is time for Donald to accept that the game is over and he has run out of courts.

“For the Clippers, it is a new era under a new owner whose commitment to excellence and passion will take the team to an NBA championship.”

Contact the writer: jcarr@ocregister.com

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