First, on July 3, he filed another motion to continue the trial in the probate court. That was neither approved nor denied by the Judge. It was moved to Monday, July 7, to be heard at that time.
DTS viewed this as insufficient, so then he filed a notice to remove the matter to federal court later on July 3. What I took out of this was that many attorneys were going to be working over July 4 weekend. They are the real victims here!
What did this federal court matter have to do with this? DTS' health privacy rights have been violated and the federal court needs to step in:
Donald Sterling's attorney Bobby Samini denied the move was mere gamesmanship, saying, "We feel strongly that this important issue should be addressed by the federal court at this time."
"While it has become popular to attack Donald Sterling for his regrettable comments, his right to privacy and to the protection of his medical records should not be acceptable collateral damage," Samini said in a statement.
I had an opportunity to review Shelly Sterling's response brief and it seemed persuasive to me. It argued a few things:
1. There was no federal question here. DTS' attorneys never provided any reason as to why the health privacy concerns could not be resolved at the state level. This is a California state Trust.
2. You have to bring the notice of removal at the first opportunity. You can't litigate intensely for three weeks and then try to remove it. DTS' health privacy was as violated on day 1 of this matter as it was on July 3. DTS only brought the motion because he didn't like how the trial was looking.
3. DTS is not a defendant in the matter. Only a defendant can apparently remove a matter, not a beneficiary to a Trust who is responding to a motion. Technically, DTS is a respondent and although it may seem like a lack of difference between a defendant and respondent, there is a clear legal difference.
So, what ended up happening? DTS went 0-2 and even I got into the Twitter action:
Both Federal and State Courts agree Sterling trial should start today, but Donald Sterling is nowhere to be found. Judge may issue warrant!— TwistNHook (@TwistNHook) July 7, 2014
OK, so the first step was determining where DTS was. Shelly's attorney called him as a witness, seemingly because he knew DTS wasn't there:
Pierce O'Donnell, Shelly's lawyer, was scanning the room before calling 1st witness. Knew Donald wasn't here. Was almost giddy to call him.— Dan Woike (@DanWoikeSports) July 7, 2014
It's some gamesmanship to make DTS look bad. Bottom line is that he is supposed to testify tomorrow:
Donald's lawyers promise he'll be here tomorrow. He'll be here by 2:30.— Dan Woike (@DanWoikeSports) July 7, 2014
Once that was over, we had the opening arguments. Shelly's opening argument was brief, but DTS' was apparently 30 minutes long and bombastic:
Gary Ruttenberg calls any doctor evidence/testimony "the fruits of a very poisonous tree."— Dan Woike (@DanWoikeSports) July 7, 2014
Opening is still going on. Apparently Donald hired Phil A. Buster to represent him. (I'm just getting antsy)— Dan Woike (@DanWoikeSports) July 7, 2014
Maybe they were hoping to delay the trial with an unending opening argument! Either way, we had our first witness. This witness is potentially the ballgame. It is Dr. Platzer. She was the first doctor to perform the capacity evaluation on DTS. I've reviewed her evaluation report and it is very barebones. It was hard to get info on what she did. DTS and his team ran a smear campaign against her, saying that she couldn't be trusted because she went out for drinks with DTS afterwards. It was very confusing.
During the testimony, the truth came out. The evaluation took two hours and was extremely comprehensive.
Doctor said Sterling's examination took two hours. It was conducted at his home.— Arash Markazi (@ArashMarkazi) July 7, 2014
Pierce O'Donnell establishing that no outside factors could've changed how Sterling would've performed in Dr. Platzer's testing.— Dan Woike (@DanWoikeSports) July 7, 2014
Not only did this seem to really harm part of DTS' hope here, the actions of his attorney seemed to frustrate the Judge. The attorney made a global objection to the Dr's testimony, which was overruled. Then, he made individual objections to every single question!
Donald Sterling's lawyer loses objection. He fires back that he's going to object to everything connected to Platzer's testimony.— Dan Woike (@DanWoikeSports) July 7, 2014
You get an objection. And you get an objection. And you get an objection.— Dan Woike (@DanWoikeSports) July 7, 2014
I hope Donald isn't paying Ruttenberg by the objection.— Dan Woike (@DanWoikeSports) July 7, 2014
Judge looks visibly irked by Donald Sterling's attorneys at this point.— Arash Markazi (@ArashMarkazi) July 7, 2014
Annoying the Judge is not a great way to win any trial. So, the next question is about the drinks with Donald afterwards. Just what happened there? Apparently, more creepiness:
Doctor and Shelly Sterling went to Polo Lounge after examination. Donald Sterling and Bobby Samini showed up uninvited and joined the table.— Arash Markazi (@ArashMarkazi) July 7, 2014
Argument from Donald's camp was Platzer was emotional during post-exam dinner and overly personal.— Dan Woike (@DanWoikeSports) July 7, 2014
I feel like everything DTS and his legal team do is in blatant bad faith and ends up hurting them more than helping them. They attempt to introduce a series of irrelevant factors and details as if people will just fall for them. It appears that the Judge here is seeing through everything and it is going extremely poorly for DTS. He got outflanked prior to the trial and now on day one, both of his attempts to delay failed. His attorneys have apparently already frustrated the Judge and one of his chances to show a doctor acted inappropriately or poorly went up in flames.
Tomorrow should prove to be a true circus as DTS himself should be testifying. If it is anything like his Anderson Cooper interview, it'll be rambling, insulting, and 100% media fodder. He'll most likely do himself no service tomorrow and the circus will continue. What are your thoughts on this? Leave them in the comments and GO BEARS!