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Derek Fisher, Players Union Seek Dismissal of Hunter Case

July 2 (Bloomberg) -- Derek Fisher, president of the National Basketball Players Association, and the union asked a judge to toss Billy Hunter’s lawsuit alleging they engaged in secret negotiations with team owners to end the 2011 lockout.

Hunter, who was fired as the union’s executive director in February after a 16-year tenure, sued the NBPA and Fisher in May claiming breach of contract and defamation. Lawyers for the union said in court filings today in Oakland, California, that Hunter’s lawsuit must be dismissed because his contract was never approved, while an attorney for Fisher and his publicist Jamie Wior, who was also sued, says they weren’t parties to the contract and the defamation claims are an attempt to retaliate against Fisher for exercising his right to free speech.

“Today we jointly filed four motions seeking to dismiss the claims in the lawsuit brought by former Executive Director Billy Hunter,” said Christina Sarchio and Andrew Kassof, attorneys for the union and Fisher, in an e-mail. “The allegations are unfounded, and we intend to defend this lawsuit aggressively.”

Bill McBride, a spokesman for Hunter’s attorney, David Anderson, said they haven’t seen the filings.

A hearing on the requests is scheduled for Aug. 27.

Hunter claims the secret talks were aimed at benefiting the participants, the owners and certain players, according to his complaint filed May 16 in California state court in Oakland.

The case is Hunter v. Fisher, RG13679736, California Superior Court, Alameda County (Oakland).

To contact the reporters on this story: Karen Gullo in San Francisco at kgullo@bloomberg.net; Scott Soshnick in New York at ssoshnick@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Michael Hytha at mhytha@bloomberg.net

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