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Clippers: Elgin Baylor versus Donald Sterling legal update -- sort of

April 29, 2010 |  4:26 pm

Elgin_250 The wheels of justice, yes, do grind slowly.

And never so much as when it comes to Clippers owner Donald Sterling. Or, as my esteemed colleague Mark Heisler called him in a recent letter/column "The Don of Dons."

Elgin Baylor's lawsuit against Sterling, Andy Roeser, the Clippers and the NBA was filed a long, long time ago, in fact, initially on Feb. 11, 2009. The Clippers have even won some games since it was filed -- 36, actually.

What's happened since that first eye-popping set of allegations? (As you might recall, Baylor alleged that Sterling has embraced "a vision of Southern plantation-type structure" for his NBA franchise.)

Not much.

The sheer volume of legal filings would suggest otherwise. But the latest batch filed, on April 12 in L.A. Superior Court, mostly has to do with efforts to get the NBA to produce documents, seeking information "concerning the NBA's communications and interaction with member teams, financial documents, and documents relating to the NBA's disciplinary actions."

The NBA isn't giving an inch. Or if it does, there would be a few more pages arguing about the merits of the inch and whether it constitutes proprietary business information.

Kidding aside, this is one example of the legal back-and-forth, from the latest court filing from Baylor's legal team:


Admit that, as the NBA, YOU have the authority to decide who can become an NBA team owner.


Defendant incorporates its Preliminary Statement and General Objections as though set forth fully herein. Defendant objects to this Request on the grounds that it seeks information that is neither relevant to the subject matter of this litigation nor reasonably calculated to lead to the discovery of admissible evidence.

Subject to and without waiving the foregoing objections, and to the extent it understands the Request, Defendant responds as follows: Admits that, pursuant to the NBA Constitution, applications for memberships in the NBA are subject to the approval of the Board of Governors of the NBA.

Glad that got cleared up

But it does bring home the fact that this is going to drag on.

And on.

Blake Griffin may actually have played a full season by then.

-- Lisa Dillman

Photo: Elgin Baylor. Credit: Los Angeles Times