Abdul-Jabbar & Auction House in Overtime


     LOS ANGELES (CN) – Kareem Abdul-Jabbar sued Julien’s Auctions, saying he cannot be compelled to arbitrate collection claims after the Beverly Hills auction house filed five lawsuits over the matter.
     It’s Abdul-Jabbar second lawsuit in a year against Julien Entertainment.com dba Julien’s Auctions.
     A couple of years ago, Julien’s contracted with KAJ Lifetime Collection to auction certain items belonging to Abdul-Jabbar, the complaint states.
     Abdul-Jabbar says he was not a party to the consignment agreement, “which contains the arbitration clause upon which Julien’s is relying.”
     A dispute arose between Julien’s and KAJ over the items, and in April 2013, Julien’s filed a demand for arbitration against the company.
     Abdul-Jabbar claims that three of Julien’s five lawsuits, “including the one that is the subject of this complaint, are identical, but were commenced in three different venues.”
     The three lawsuits were filed after Julien’s dismissed a similar lawsuit that was pending in Superior Court for almost two years, “without having to prove its inflammatory allegations,” Abdul-Jabbar says.
     He wants to stop Julien’s attempt to arbitrate an agreement that he did not sign, “and to arbitrate asserted collection claims that are outside the scope of the alleged arbitration agreement.”
     Julien’s action, Abdul-Jabbar says, is a collection action related to an arbitration award, and its claims should be consolidated with the other pending actions.
     In September 2014, Julien’s filed a petition to compel Abdul-Jabbar to arbitrate the specific claims asserted by him in its action against KAJ. This petition was granted on Oct. 29, 2014, by Superior Court Judge Malcolm H. Mackey, the complaint states.
     But Mackey did not decide whether Julien’s claims in the arbitration demand are within the scope of the arbitration clause in the consignment agreement, Abdul-Jabbar says.
     “At the time of Judge Mackey’s ruling compelling Mr. Abdul-Jabbar to arbitrate, the only claims or controversies before him were the three claims asserted by Mr. Abdul-Jabbar in the KAJ action,” the lawsuit states. “The arbitration demand was not filed in connection with the KAJ action, but was commenced as a separate suit, and was filed months after Judge Mackey’s ruling.”
     Nor did Mackey rule on whether the arbitration demand and the identical actions arise from the same incident, “and whether there is a possibility of conflicting rulings, as none of these actions were filed at that time,” the complaint states.     
     Abdul-Jabbar first sued Julien’s in July 2014, alleging the auction house refused to return 152 items of his memorabilia.
     Iconomy, a management firm for the star, said the company from which Abdul Jabbar had consigned the items, KAJ Lifetime Retirement Collection, refused to turn over the 400 items because a dispute arose after Abdul Jabbar wanted to withdraw six sentimental items that had been consigned for sale.
     Julien’s had already made a $300,000 donation to Abdul-Jabbar’s Skyhook Foundation when it canceled the auction, Iconomy CEO Deborah Morales said.
     Julien’s then sued Abdul-Jabbar in February this year, claiming it lost $583,961 when the basketball star refused to hand over the memorabilia.
     Abdul-Jabbar is represented in Superior Court by Evan Smiley and Robert Marticelo of Smiley Wang-Ekvall of Costa Mesa.

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