Jan Sharry in Law360: Forced Clippers Sale Could Cost NBA If Sterling Resists

05/06/2014


The National Basketball Association came down hard on Los Angeles Clippers owner Donald Sterling after a recording of his racist tirade was leaked to the media last week, but experts say the next step in the league's punishment plan — a forced sale of the team — is a nuanced one that invites courtroom challenges from the disgraced owner.

Already, NBA Commissioner Adam Silver has capitalized on the sweeping authority assigned to him in the league's constitution to impose a lifetime ban on Sterling, a real estate mogul with a reputation marred by controversy. Pending approval from the owners of three-quarters of the NBA's 30 teams, Silver has said he will push the Clippers to the selling block. 

The NBA's heavy-handed approach to the scandal has won it favor from players and fans so far, but Sterling has a litigious history — a cocktail that could foreshadow a bitter, expensive legal fight even if Sterling, by most accounts, has little room to argue...

"Obviously what we're expecting is he's going to throw out any kind of legal theory he can come up with to prevent the sale and delay this as long as possible,"said Janice Sharry, who heads the corporate finance group at Haynes and Boone, LLP and has extensive M&A experience. "There will be an actionable claim — some theory they come up with based on the antitrust laws."

Excerpted from Law360, May 6, 2014. To view full article, click here (subscription required).

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