Former Clippers owner Donald Sterling dropped civil allegations against a former companion concerning the release of a recorded conversation in which the billionaire real estate mogul made racially charged comments.
Sterling's remarks to V. Stiviano led to his lifetime ban from the National Basketball Association and the eventual sale of the team.
Sterling's attorney, Laura Booth, told Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Frederick Shaller via the telephone court call system on Tuesday that papers seeking dismissal of the case were filed.
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Sterling also sued TMZ.com, but Stivano was the last remaining defendant because Shaller dismissed the part of the case against the website on free- speech grounds on Nov. 6.
Shaller said that despite Sterling's action regarding Stiviano, TMZ.com's motion for more than $225,000 in attorneys' fees and related costs for winning dismissal of the allegations against the website will still be heard March 23.
“You still have to deal with that,” Shaller said.
In his lawsuit, filed Aug. 7, Sterling claimed the recording was “surreptitious and illicit” and was “illegally disseminated” by Stiviano and TMZ.
In the recorded conversation, which was made public by TMZ on April 25, 2014, Sterling criticized Stiviano for having her picture taken with black people and told her not to bring them to Clippers games.
According to the lawsuit, Sterling met with “his former friend” Stiviano on Sept. 12, 2013, for a “social gathering.”
“During this particular social gathering, and unbeknownst to Sterling and without his consent, Stiviano surreptitiously recorded a conversation between the two individuals during Sterling's meeting with Stiviano,” according to the lawsuit.
Eventually, Stiviano “and/or her agents,” gave the recording to TMZ, the lawsuit alleged.
The suit also alleged that either TMZ or Stiviano “doctored and/or otherwise altered the content of the recording on the tape to reflect conversations between (Sterling) and Stiviano that either never occurred, were grossly distorted and/or stated out of context.”
Following the release of the tape, Sterling “became engaged in a bitter probate dispute between his estranged wife — Rochelle H. Sterling — over the disposition of the Los Angeles Clippers basketball team — culminating with the probate court's confirmation of the sale of (Sterling's) former Los Angeles Clippers basketball team on Aug. 7, 2014,” according to the lawsuit.
The Clippers were sold in August 2014 to former Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer for $2 billion.