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:
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Filed Under: anti-slapp, donald sterling, free speech, journalism, reporting, v. stiviano
Companies: tmz


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  • icon
    Ninja (profile), 11 Aug 2015 @ 10:01am

    Donald Sterling, Donald Trump, Donald Duck.. I'm starting to believe there's some curse around the name Donald...

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 11 Aug 2015 @ 10:09am

    OH god ive never heard of the deposition!

    I was eating breakfast when i got to the last line, TD i should sue! You almost killed me, I choked on my toast laughing so hard. WTF was he thinking, how does handwriting start a story about a girl blowing him.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 11 Aug 2015 @ 11:41am

      Re:

      Q: Sir, the question was, is this your handwriting?
      I could swear this is a stock comedy device/trope, but for the life of me I can't figure out what it's called. Anyone?

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Baron von Robber, 11 Aug 2015 @ 10:13am

    A sever case of Afluenza if I ever saw it.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Christenson, 11 Aug 2015 @ 10:25am

    Popcorn stocks

    In other news, popcorn stocks rose 2% today.....as did elbow-pad and knee-pad stocks, since people seem to be rolling on the floor laughing so hard!

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    Berenerd (profile), 11 Aug 2015 @ 10:30am

    Well...did he ever answer the question?


    What?

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 11 Aug 2015 @ 10:35am

    There's some pretty heavy editorializing about the merits of the two party consent law. Would you be ok with police using laser mics to record conversations in private homes? Or placing recording devices on every street corner?

    Analysis of this law could use its own post.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Baron von Robber, 11 Aug 2015 @ 10:37am

      Re:

      Uh, that would be a no party consent law.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      Josh in CharlotteNC (profile), 11 Aug 2015 @ 10:45am

      Re:

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

      Analysis:
      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.

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

      Clear enough?

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 11 Aug 2015 @ 10:48am

      Re:

      "Would you be ok with police using laser mics to record conversations in private homes? Or placing recording devices on every street corner? "


      They don't do this already? ... interesting

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 11 Aug 2015 @ 11:21am

    "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!

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    DannyB (profile), 11 Aug 2015 @ 12:35pm

    Was this your handwriting?

    Yes, but he was trying to explain his loss of muscle control that made it not look like his handwriting.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Klaus, 20 Aug 2015 @ 3:26am

    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.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]


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