Donald Sterling’s lawyers filed a motion Thursday seeking to move to a federal court the case surrounding the sale of the Los Angeles Clippers basketball team, alleging that his medical privacy was violated.
The motion comes days before a trial is scheduled in probate court to determine if Sterling’s estranged wife, Shelly Sterling, can sell the team to former Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer, for $2 billion. Sterling’s lawyer reportedly claimed that his privacy rights were “ignored and trampled” by the revelation of his medical information in the probate case, while Shelly’s lawyer called the latest move by Sterling a “cowardly ploy."
"In our request for removal to federal court, we have reasserted that Donald's rights under HIPAA and other federal privacy laws have been violated. While Shelly Sterling and her team will claim that this is merely a tactic, we feel strongly that this important issue should be addressed by the federal court at this time,” Sterling’s attorney Bobby Samini, reportedly said, in a statement.
“While it has become popular to attack Donald Sterling for his regrettable comments, his right to privacy and to the protection of his medical records should not be acceptable collateral damage," he added.
Shelly's attorney, Pierce O'Donnell, reportedly said: “Donald Sterling's 11th-hour attempt to move the probate trial into the federal courts is a desperate act by a desperate man,” adding that the medical records were made public only after Sterling had expressly authorized their release.
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In previous filings, Sterling’s lawyers have reportedly argued that the findings of the 80-year-old attorney’s mental competence were incomplete and that Shelly and her lawyers had conspired to prove that he was incapacitated, which would make Shelly the sole decision maker under the terms of the family trust.
Ballmer's attorney, Adam Streisand, also reportedly called the move by Sterling as "desperate."
“We will be filing emergency relief in federal court to undo this last desperate and frivolous attempt to block our trial from going forward Monday," Streisand reportedly said, in a statement.
The NBA banned Sterling for life on April 29 and fined him $2.5 million after a tape surfaced in which he was found to have made racist comments.