The woman scolded by Donald Sterling for bringing black people to Clippers games was ordered by a judge Monday to pay more than $50,000 in legal fees related to her failed defamation countersuit against the billionaire’s wife, the Sterling family trust and a former Clippers team entity.
Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Richard Fruin granted the Sterling attorneys’ request to dismiss V. Stiviano’s claims in November, which allowed the Sterling parties to seek attorneys’ fees.
Attorney Caroline Heindel, who represents Shelly Sterling, L.A. Sports Properties and the Sterling family trust, said the countersuit alleged unclear allegations that her clients defamed Stiviano via the national news media by calling her a thief and claiming she embezzled funds and other properties from Donald Sterling.
Stiviano’s countersuit was so vague in its details that an Internet search was made to see if there was anything to support her allegations, Heindel said.
Heindel sought attorneys’ fees and costs to compensate her clients in getting Stiviano’s complaint tossed. Donald Sterling’s estranged wife asked for $40,460; the trust and L.A. Sports Properties wanted about $19,800. The three parties also wanted another $10,000 to pay for the additional costs related to the motions to obtain attorneys’ fees.
Fruin granted the attorneys’ fees, but with a total of $11,500 in deductions.
Stiviano’s attorney, Mac Nehoray, called the amount sought by the Sterling parties as “outrageous” and urged Fruin to award far less money.
“They’re billing for something a clerk could have done,” Nehoray said.
Shelly Sterling filed a lawsuit against March 7 in an effort to get property given to Stiviano that was jointly owned by the Sterlings. The suit alleged Stiviano, who often attended Clippers games with Donald Sterling, met him at the 2010 Super Bowl and began a sexual relationship with him.
Trial of Shelly Sterling’s case is scheduled for March 9.
Donald Sterling, who purchased the Clippers in 1981 for $12.5 million, was pressured to sell the team after the release of recorded conversations between him and V. Stiviano. In those conversations, Sterling criticized Stiviano for having her picture taken with black people and told her not to bring them to Clippers games.
The comments earned Sterling a lifetime ban from the NBA, which initiated actions to strip the Clippers from him.
After a long legal battle last summer with her husband, Shelly Sterling sold the Clippers to former Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer for $2 billion.
— City News Service