Loeb & Loeb LLP partner Adam Streisand, chair of the firm’s Trust and Estate Litigation Practice, secured a major victory today on behalf of former Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer, when the Los Angeles Superior Court confirmed the authority of Shelly Sterling to sell the Los Angeles Clippers NBA basketball franchise to Ballmer over the objections of her estranged husband, longtime team owner Donald Sterling. The record $2 billion sale was finalized shortly after the court order was signed and Ballmer is now the new owner of the NBA franchise.

Streisand represented Ballmer in the trust battle between the Sterlings concerning Shelly Sterling’s right to sell the team to Ballmer after her husband was found to be mentally incapacitated by two doctors and Shelly Sterling became the sole trustee of the couple’s family trust. Donald Sterling challenged his wife’s takeover of the trust but Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Michael Levanas ruled in Shelly Sterling’s favor.

Streisand said “Judge Levanas signed his court order authorizing the sale even if Donald Sterling filed an appeal and we were ready. Within minutes, the deal was signed, sealed and delivered.”

Streisand was the architect of the strategy to seek an order under Probate Code section 1310(b), a provision so rarely invoked that most probate attorneys were unaware of its existence before the Sterling case. Section 1310(b) authorizes the probate court to make an order to permit a trustee to carry out a transaction even if the court’s decision is appealed to a higher court if delay would cause irreparable injury or loss. When Ballmer contacted Streisand about the proposed Clippers deal, Streisand immediately told Ballmer about 1310(b) and then presented the plan to lawyers for Shelly Sterling.

Even if Donald Sterling seeks an emergency order to direct Judge Levanas to vacate his order, Streisand said “I’m confident the appellate court will agree Judge Levanas made the correct decision, and it’s all academic now because we already have a new owner of the Clippers.” Streisand added “even if, and it’s a huge if, Donald Sterling could get a different result from the Court of Appeal, the sale is a done deal as allowed by the probate court’s 1310(b) order.”

Adam Streisand is widely regarded as one of the nation’s top trial attorneys, particularly in the field of private wealth disputes, including litigation involving trusts, estates and conservatorships. He is best known for his victories in courtroom battles over celebrity estates and trial victories in complex probate court proceedings.



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