Greenberg Glusker Client Shelly Sterling Triumphs in Case Against V. Stiviano

April 15, 2015Article
Greenberg Glusker Press Release

Donald Sterling paramour V. Stiviano will have to repay over $2.6 million in cash and real estate under a lawsuit brought by Sterling’s wife, a judge ruled yesterday.

The 12-page ruling by Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Richard L. Fruin Jr. marks a precedent-setting victory for Shelly Sterling, who complained that her husband inappropriately shared community assets without her consent during a time that the couple was still legally together.

"Shelly is thrilled with the decision,” said her attorney, Pierce O’Donnell, who led a Greenberg Glusker team that included partners Steve Smith and Caroline Heindel. “This is certainly a victory for the Sterling family, whose funds were dissipated by Donald to lavish millions of dollars of gifts on a conniving mistress. The decision also has broader significance in today's society.  Shelly has set a precedent while defending the rights of all spouses to protect their community property."

Under the ruling, Stiviano, 32, must return a $1.8 million Spanish-style duplex in Los Angeles and $830,000 in cash – $430,000 for gifts of cash, the rest as reimbursement for a 2012 Ferrari, a 2007 Bentley and a 2013 Range Rover.

During trial last month, the defense contended that, when Stiviano received the gifts between 2011 and 2014, the Sterlings lived separate and apart. However, Fruin found that “the evidence does not support that conclusion” and that, during that time, “the (Sterlings) continued to live together, to travel together, to hold parties together and to celebrate birthdays and anniversaries together.”

Fruin also found that Donald Sterling, 80, unsuccessfully “sought to disguise and thus to conceal his gifts to Stiviano” by creating “evidentiary challenges,” such as the use of cashier’s checks to fund the house and the luxury cars.

Donald Sterling was stripped of ownership of the Los Angeles Clippers last year after the release of a recording in which he makes racially inappropriate remarks to Stiviano. Shelly Sterling successfully negotiated the sale of the team to former Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer for $2 billion.

Greenberg Glusker represented Shelly Sterling in the sale of the Clippers and the trial in Probate Court.

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