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Author Topic: Donald Sterling Lawsuit ?  (Read 824 times)

Citylaw

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Donald Sterling Lawsuit ?
« on: June 17, 2014, 10:32:04 AM »
Again not necessarily law school related although I am sure this is being talked about in law school classrooms.

What are your thoughts on Donald Sterling's position.

If you get to the facts Donald Sterling is an 81 year old crime victim losing his property as a direct result of the crime committed against him.

Donald Sterling however, is basically a horrible person and I think even he would admit to that.

As for the legal standpoint I know first amendment will not really apply, because the NBA is not a government agency. His due process property rights might be impacted.

There is also an anti-trust argument, but I cannot really articulate it.

I would love to see a copy of the lawsuit he filed, but I haven't been able to locate it.

Just curious to hear people's thoughts.

I have heard a lot of noise about this, but no real great legal analysis on the issue and I would love to hear the arguments from both sides.

Maintain FL 350

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Re: Donald Sterling Lawsuit ?
« Reply #1 on: June 17, 2014, 11:07:43 AM »
Is he arguing against the NBA forcing him to sell the Clippers?

In most situations, he'd have a good argument. No matter how big of a jerk you are, that doesn't mean you are forced to sell your business.

However, my understanding is that the NBA franchise contract DOES allow for forced sales if the owner's behavior reflects badly on the league, or something like that. There is still a process they have to go through, but it's a contractual provision that he agreed to in order to buy into the franchise.

Maybe his best argument would be that it's an unconscionable provision, and against public policy? I doubt it, though. The court would likely just say "You entered into it willingly. Too bad."

I have no sympathy for a racist like Sterling who gets caught with his own words, but the whole thing has such a set up feel to it. The fact that she was recording conversations and asking leading questions, it's pretty smarmy.   

Burning Sands, Esq.

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Re: Donald Sterling Lawsuit ?
« Reply #2 on: June 17, 2014, 05:23:56 PM »
I think Maintain pretty much hit the nail on the head.  From my admittedly limited understanding of NBA contracts,  the NBA owners are not owners outright in the sense of how we might own a car but instead are owners of a franchise much in the same way that a person might "own" a McDonald's restaurant.  If the parent of the franchise wants their franchise back there is probably a provision in the agreement allowing them to do just that, otherwise some rogue owner could potentially destroy their brand.
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I.M.D.Law

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Re: Donald Sterling Lawsuit ?
« Reply #3 on: June 17, 2014, 06:44:25 PM »
I think he would have a good case if it was based just on the law BUT politics will see him fail

Citylaw

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Re: Donald Sterling Lawsuit ?
« Reply #4 on: June 17, 2014, 08:07:56 PM »
My understanding of the NBA constitution was that if an action caused an economic harm to the league, but the team could have sold for a record breaking $2 billion dollars so his comments did not negatively impact the league economically.

My understanding of the rules is that you could kick an owner out for not paying their contracts etc, which makes sense and if there was actually economic damages as a result of his statements maybe under that provision it could apply. However, it seems liek this action for all intents and purposes has had a positive economic impact on the NBA in that people are constantly talking about it and billionaires are trying to get their name in the paper just for a chance to buy it.

Sterling is a pretty good lawyer and I am interested to see how he handles it.

As for the Politics the legal system often wins out over popular opinion. Brown v. Board of education was not exactly a popular decision when it came out and the national guard had to be called in, but it stuck.

Judges typically are not politicians as most are appointed, which allows them the discretion to make the right but often unpopular decisions.

It will be interesting to see.

I.M.D.Law

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Re: Donald Sterling Lawsuit ?
« Reply #5 on: June 17, 2014, 11:31:49 PM »
seems like an unconstitutional liquidated damages clause if it were an MBE question

Maintain FL 350

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Re: Donald Sterling Lawsuit ?
« Reply #6 on: June 18, 2014, 12:13:35 PM »
Franchises have all sorts of requirements and covenants that most business contracts don't.

If you buy a McDonald's franchise you have to buy all the food from McDonald's (even if you can get it cheaper somewhere else), put up all of the seasonal promotional materials they send you, they get to decide where the store goes so as to avoid competition with existing franchises, and you have to keep the place up with general corporate standards.

Even with all those requirements people are still falling over themselves to buy McDonald's franchises because they're so profitable. Same thing with the NBA.

I.M.D.Law

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Re: Donald Sterling Lawsuit ?
« Reply #7 on: June 18, 2014, 02:27:30 PM »
Franchises have all sorts of requirements and covenants that most business contracts don't.

If you buy a McDonald's franchise you have to buy all the food from McDonald's (even if you can get it cheaper somewhere else), put up all of the seasonal promotional materials they send you, they get to decide where the store goes so as to avoid competition with existing franchises, and you have to keep the place up with general corporate standards.

Even with all those requirements people are still falling over themselves to buy McDonald's franchises because they're so profitable. Same thing with the NBA.
one has to do with supply the other with private fee speech in ones home

Maintain FL 350

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Re: Donald Sterling Lawsuit ?
« Reply #8 on: June 19, 2014, 01:49:57 AM »
It was private free speech that became public.

I think the NBA franchise agreement allows for a forced sale if the owner's actions damage the league's image or something like that. I don't remember the exact words they used.

I'm sure the NBA will argue that since 85% of the players and a huge portion of the fan base are black, that Sterling's continued presence damages the league.

The whole thing is stupid. Sterling is a racist jerk, but the woman who recorded him seems pretty shifty. I also love how everybody at the NBA is full of faux righteous indignation. Apparently his views were pretty widely known, but as long as he was quiet no one cared.

I do think Mark Cuban had a good point. Do we really want to start punishing people for their privately held views? I think they can, legally, but should they? Regardless of whether his views are despicable, I don't like the idea of "thought police". 

I.M.D.Law

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Re: Donald Sterling Lawsuit ?
« Reply #9 on: June 19, 2014, 02:11:27 PM »
It was private free speech that became public.

I think the NBA franchise agreement allows for a forced sale if the owner's actions damage the league's image or something like that. I don't remember the exact words they used.

I'm sure the NBA will argue that since 85% of the players and a huge portion of the fan base are black, that Sterling's continued presence damages the league.

The whole thing is stupid. Sterling is a racist jerk, but the woman who recorded him seems pretty shifty. I also love how everybody at the NBA is full of faux righteous indignation. Apparently his views were pretty widely known, but as long as he was quiet no one cared.

I do think Mark Cuban had a good point. Do we really want to start punishing people for their privately held views? I think they can, legally, but should they? Regardless of whether his views are despicable, I don't like the idea of "thought police".
It's a pretty safe bet he'll sue her, but I doubt she has much he can recover from. Even if he wins, you can't get many dollars out of a penny slut.