Fisher, NBPA file motion to dismiss lawsuit
by Jeff Zillgitt, USA TODAY Sports
The National Basketball Players Association, Derek Fisher and Jamie Wior on Tuesday filed motions to dismiss former NBPA executive director Billy Hunter’s lawsuit against them in Superior Court of California, County of Alameda.
Citing a California statute known as anti-SLAPP (strategic lawsuits against public participation), attorneys for the NBPA, Fisher and Wior, who is Fisher’s business manager, said Hunter’s suit has no merit and should be dismissed.
The NBPA, Fisher and Wior are also asking the court for attorneys’ fees. Hunter filed his suit on May 16, seeking compensation and punitive damages related to his dismissal as NBPA executive director in February during All-Star weekend in Houston.
“Today we jointly filed four motions seeking to dismiss the claims in the lawsuit brought by former executive director Billy Hunter. The allegations are unfounded, and we intend to defend this lawsuit aggressively,” attorneys Christina G. Sarchio, counsel for the National Basketball Players Association, and Andrew A. Kassof, counsel for Fisher and Wior, said in a statement.
A hearing is set for Aug. 27, according to court records.
In one of the NBPA’s motion to dismiss, attorneys wrote that in firing Hunter, the NBPA was “protecting its interests and the interests of its members. Hunter has nonetheless chosen to file the instant lawsuit, seeking to chill the Defendants’ rights to free speech. Hunter’s claims must be dismissed, as the conduct alleged in support thereof is expressly protected by the anti-SLAPP statute.”
The anti-SLAPP statute is designed to protect the “petition and free speech rights of all Californians … for meritless lawsuits,” according to the California Anti-SLAPP Project.
The attorneys for Fisher and Wior wrote that Hunter’s claims are the “types of claims California courts routinely strike under the anti-SLAPP law. … The Court should apply the anti-SLAPP statute, strike the claims against Fisher and Wior, and award them attorneys’ fees.”
The attorney for Fisher and Wior also filed a another motion contending that Hunter’s claims “are barred by clear California law and pleading standards.” Essentially, they are claiming there is no basis for Hunter’s lawsuit.
The NBPA’s attorneys from the law firm Orrick, Herrington and Sutcliffe also asked for a dismissal … [For more on Derek Fisher, NBPA file motion to dismiss lawsuit, click here.]