Disgraced former Los Angeles Clippers owner Donald Sterling has filed suit against celebrity news website TMZ and his former companion, V. Stiviano, over the publication of audio that captured Sterling making racist comments and ultimately ended his career in basketball.
In the suit, filed in Los Angeles Superior Court on Friday, Sterling says that the recording was made at Stiviano’s residence, during a visit that was “part of a typical social gathering between them.”
The complaint claims that Sterling “reasonably and objectively believed that only he and Stiviano were present in the room in which the conversations were held,” and thus the discussions were “confidential under California law.”
However, the suit claims, Stiviano then provided the surreptitiously made recording to TMZ, which then “illegally disseminated” the audio “in contemptuous disregard for Plaintiff’s privacy rights under California law.”
As a result, the suit claims, Sterling suffered a fallout that “is unparalleled in terms of the damage and reputational harm done to Plaintiff.”
Sterling received a lifetime ban from the NBA after the audio was released, and the Clippers were eventually sold to former Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer for $2 billion.
Claiming violations of California code, the suit is asking for “statutory damages of $5,000 to Sterling or three times the amount of actual damages, whichever is greater.”
TMZ has not yet responded to TheWrap’s request for comment.
Pamela Chelin contributed to this report.