The National Basketball Players Association won its bid for a lawsuit filed by ousted Executive Director Billy Hunter to be moved to state court in Los Angeles, the union said.
“We are pleased that the court has transferred the case to Los Angeles, where it should have been filed, and now look forward to a hearing on the pending motions to dismiss the case,” Christina Sarchio, an attorney for the union, and Andrew Kassof, the lawyer for association President Derek Fisher and other defendants, said in a statement. Court records confirming the ruling weren’t immediately available.
Hunter sued the union, Fisher and his publicist, Jamie Wior, in May, alleging they engaged in secret negotiations with team owners to end the 2011 NBA lockout. The complaint was filed in Alameda County, California, where the union said Hunter regularly worked. Fisher and Wior live in Los Angeles and the players association is based in New York.
Hunter has a home in Oakland, California, and he’s friendly with C. Don Clay, the Presiding Judge of Alameda County Superior Court, according to the union’s court filing requesting a change in venue. Last year, Clay in an e-mail to Hunter expressed his support for the former federal prosecutor in his battle with the union, according to the filing.
Dave Anderson, Hunter’s attorney, didn’t immediately respond to an e-mail seeking comment on the ruling.
Hunter was fired as the association’s executive director in February, ending a 16-year tenure. Player representatives from 24 of the 30 NBA teams in Houston for the All-Star weekend voted unanimously to oust him.
The lawsuit is the latest in a battle between the union, Fisher and Hunter, who was criticized in an independent review of association business and hiring practices.
The case is Hunter v. Fisher, RG13679736, California Superior Court, Alameda County (Oakland).