Sterling to pay $5M in plaintiffs' lawyer fees

LOS ANGELES -- A judge ordered Los Angeles Clippers owner
and real estate mogul Donald T. Sterling to pay nearly $5 million
in fees to plaintiffs' attorneys in a lawsuit accusing him of
discriminating against black and Latino tenants.
The case was resolved with a financial settlement that the judge
described as one "one of the largest ever obtained in this type of
case," though the terms were not disclosed.
U.S. District Judge Dale Fisher's order, dated Wednesday,
ordered Sterling to compensate plaintiffs' attorneys in a 2003
lawsuit alleging Sterling tried to drive out non-Korean tenants,
particularly blacks and Latinos, at apartments he owned in the
city's Koreatown neighborhood.
After the suit was filed, Fischer banned Sterling from using the
word "Korean" on his buildings and from collecting information
about tenants' birthplaces.
The judge chided the defense for what she described as
"scorched earth" legal tactics, calling the defense's conduct
"often unacceptable, and sometimes outrageous."
Sterling's attorney, Michael Kennick, did not immediately return
a call for comment Thursday.
Attorneys for the 19 plaintiffs include the nonprofit Housing
Rights Center. Liam Garland, the group's litigation director,
declined comment.
The defense argued that the plaintiffs sought too much money in
attorneys' fees, and the judge agreed to award them $4.92 million
instead of the $5.15 million they had requested.
The ruling came two weeks after some good legal news for
Sterling: a jury found in his favor in a lawsuit filed by a former
property manager, Sumner Davenport, who claimed he had sexually
harassed her.
Davenport had also alleged that Sterling's companies had
racially prejudiced employment and housing practices, an allegation
denied by Sterling's lawyer in the case.