LA Clippers & Owner Want Their Day in Court

     LOS ANGELES (CN) – The Los Angeles Clippers and their owner want to stop former head coach Mike Dunleavy from arbitrating his claim that the team still owes him $6.75 million of a five-year, $22 million contract.

     After seven years with the team, Dunleavy resigned as head coach this February and was fired a month later from his position as general manager.
     In June he filed an arbitration claim against the NBA team and owner Donald Sterling, claiming he had been fraudulently induced into signing the employment contract.
     But Sterling says an arbitrator can’t rescind the contract, as Dunleavy wants, because the former coach’s claim “is based on purported representations and promises” made “outside the scope of the employment agreement,” (original emphasis).
     “The team has simply not made sufficient progress during Dunleavy’s seven-year tenure,” the Clippers said in a March press release about Dunleavy’s firing. “The Clippers want to win now. This transition, in conjunction with a full commitment to dedicate unlimited resources, is designed to accomplish that objective.”
     The team and Sterling claim they were the ones fraudulently induced into hiring Dunleavy, who knew full well that he would not fulfill his term as head coach.
     He “made these promises solely to induce (the Clippers) to provide him a long-term contract in order for Dunleavy to secure additional compensation,” according to the team’s lawsuit in Superior Court.
     When Dunleavy resigned, the team told reporters that the decision was “reached mutually.”
     “We fully agree with Mike that this is the right time to make this change,” Andy Roeser, the team’s president, said in a statement. “It just seems clear that the team needs a fresh voice and we hope that our players will respond in a positive way.”
     The Clippers and Sterling say they “simply seek their day in court to resolve the parties’ respective fraud in the inducement claims. The resolution of these overriding claims — which exceed the scope of any arbitration provision between the parties — would render all other claims moot.”
     The team seeks an order staying arbitration.
     Sterling also argues that his name should not be included in the arbitration case, because he did not personally sign Dunleavy’s employment contract.
     The team and its owner are represented by Robert Platt with Manatt, Phelps & Phillips in Los Angeles.

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