Ex-Clippers Owner’s Wife Aims To End $10M Defamation Suit

October 17, 2014Article
Law 360

Law360, Los Angeles (October 17, 2014, 5:05 PM ET) -- The wife of former Los Angeles Clippers owner Donald Sterling on Friday urged a California judge to toss the $10 million defamation lawsuit brought against her by Sterling's paramour, arguing allegedly defamatory statements she made to news media are connected to pending litigation and thus protected by California free speech laws.

V. Stiviano alleges that Rochelle “Shelly” Sterling had defamed her in comments made to “local and national news media” by calling Stiviano a thief and accusing her of embezzling funds from Donald Sterling. At a hearing on Shelly Sterling's motion to strike under California's law against lawsuits meant to curtail free speech, known as the anti-SLAPP statute, Pierce O'Donnell of Greenberg Glusker Fields Claman & Machtinger LLP, representing Sterling, urged Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Richard Fruin to reverse his tentative denial of the motion and dismiss the suit.