Former Clippers Owner Donald Sterling Sues TMZ For Publishing His Recorded Conversation

from the that's-not-going-to-work dept

Donald Sterling, the disgraced former owner of the Los Angeles Clippers basketball team, became the former owner last year after a tape of him scolding his girlfriend about appearing in public with “black people” became public. The controversy over his racist statements eventually resulted in him being fined and banned by the NBA, and forced to sell the team (which resulted in another dispute with his wife). Last week, Sterling and his wife finally filed for divorce, but Sterling has also now sued TMZ for originally publishing the audio of his conversation. He has also sued the girlfriend who recorded the tape, V. Stiviano. The lawsuit against Stiviano may actually have some basis in reality, given that California is (quite ridiculously) a “two party consent” state, whereby if you record audio of someone, they need to be aware that you’re doing so. This is problematic for all sorts of reasons, and it would be great if that law were struck down or changed, but at the very least it gives some basis for the lawsuit.

The lawsuit against TMZ, on the other hand, is completely crazy. Even if the original recording broke the law, that would have no impact whatsoever on TMZ’s legal right to then publish the recording — which was clearly newsworthy. It seems quite likely, in fact, that Sterling is about to learn the power of California’s anti-SLAPP law, as this lawsuit is pretty clearly a SLAPP attempt. And since Sterling filed his lawsuit in California, it would be shocking if TMZ doesn’t quickly go for the anti-SLAPP, which would get the case thrown out and potentially make Sterling pay the legal fees. There’s a decent chance that Stiviano might also be able to make use of the anti-SLAPP claim as well.

Either way, if the lawsuit does actually get anywhere (again, doubtful), it will undoubtedly be entertaining. Sterling has a history of making outlanddish and incredible statements in court, including this rather famous exchange from a 2003 deposition:

Filed Under: , , , , ,
Companies: tmz

Rate this comment as insightful
Rate this comment as funny
You have rated this comment as insightful
You have rated this comment as funny
Flag this comment as abusive/trolling/spam
You have flagged this comment
The first word has already been claimed
The last word has already been claimed
Insightful Lightbulb icon Funny Laughing icon Abusive/trolling/spam Flag icon Insightful badge Lightbulb icon Funny badge Laughing icon Comments icon

Comments on “Former Clippers Owner Donald Sterling Sues TMZ For Publishing His Recorded Conversation”

Subscribe: RSS Leave a comment
Josh in CharlotteNC (profile) says:

Re: Re:

Person1 is talking to Person2 in private. Person1 records the conversation without telling Person2.

In a two-party consent state, Person2 can sue Person1. This is silly.

Your example:
Person1 is talking to Person2 in private. Police record conversation.

Your example has nothing to do with 2-party consent law.

Clear enough?

Anonymous Coward says:

"Interception of oral communications"

I used to find this federal statute as 18USC2210-2217, but things have changed and these are something else now. What many folks don’t know is that 2218 specified the courts could not admit as evidence any audio recording that did not meet even one specification within 2210-2217. If California has a similar specification within it’s laws the audio recording might not be admissible evidence. THAT might make a case for reviewing such law(s): sue for illegal audio recording but can’t admit said recording as evidence!

Klaus says:

Just how?

I just looked up Donald Sterling – he’s a fat ancient creepy looking derelict who is quite possibly the ugliest person I’ve ever seen. How on earth does he kop off with women, pretty fit ones at that? He’s wearing a ginger wig for crying out loud.

And I’m not going to buy the “he’s loaded” argument – women like Stiviano can’t be that shallow and desperate.

Add Your Comment

Your email address will not be published.

Have a Techdirt Account? Sign in now. Want one? Register here

Comment Options:

Make this the or (get credits or sign in to see balance) what's this?

What's this?

Techdirt community members with Techdirt Credits can spotlight a comment as either the "First Word" or "Last Word" on a particular comment thread. Credits can be purchased at the Techdirt Insider Shop »

Follow Techdirt

Techdirt Daily Newsletter

Techdirt Deals
Techdirt Insider Discord
The latest chatter on the Techdirt Insider Discord channel...