Suit against Ryan Braun intact

Updated: January 16, 2014, 6:39 PM ET
By T.J. Quinn |

A lawsuit against Milwaukee Brewers outfielder Ryan Braun survived largely intact Wednesday when a Wisconsin judge said a former Braun associate may proceed with accusations of defamation, infliction of emotional distress and fraud.

Braun and his agents, Creative Artists Agency, had moved to dismiss the lawsuit filed in July by longtime Braun friend Ralph Sasson, 29, a law student.

[+] EnlargeRyan Braun
AP Photo/Alan DiazA Wisconsin judge said a former associate of Ryan Braun may proceed with accusations of defamation, infliction of emotional distress and fraud.

Milwaukee County Circuit Court Judge Paul R. Van Grunsven dismissed seven of the 12 counts but let stand Sasson's charges relating to defamation and libel, negligent infliction of emotional distress and fraudulent misrepresentation. Braun, a former National League MVP, served a 65-game suspension for violating baseball's drug policy last season after he was connected to Biogenesis clinic founder Tony Bosch.

Sasson said he was contacted by Braun's agent, Nez Balelo, in November 2011 after Braun was notified that he had tested positive for elevated levels of testosterone. Part of his assignment, he said, was to conduct research on the man who collected Braun's urine sample, Dino Laurenzi Jr., to whom Braun later apologized.

Sasson accused Braun of violating a confidentiality agreement they signed after Sasson assisted with Braun's successful appeal of a positive steroid test in 2011. Sasson said Braun defamed him to mutual acquaintances, thus violating the agreement and causing emotional distress.

Reached Thursday, Sasson, who is representing himself, said he does not intend to settle the case. In a statement, he said, "While I am pleased with yesterday's outcome, it is merely a first step in the long and arduous process of holding Ryan Braun, Nez Balelo and Creative Artists Agency accountable for their fraudulent actions and flagrant misconduct. As such, my primary goal at this juncture is to avoid any procedural missteps and take this matter to trial."

A spokesman for Braun did not immediately return a request for comment Thursday.

T.J. Quinn joined ESPN in November 2007 as an investigative reporter for ESPN's Enterprise Unit, which is charged with developing long-form, investigative features to be presented across multiple platforms.


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