As part of my humor recovery program I have written this for a few of you, to the rest, just play along.
Oh sweet irony I have set for myself. I purchased Paulaner's Double Bock Salvator to toast, a drink to tomorrow's festivities. It is late, tomorrow approaches, Friday, July 25, 2008. The court case between Howard Schultz v Clay Bennett; Basketball Club of Seattle v Professional Basketball Club LLC; Dreamer v Nightmare; the Joint Status Report and Discovery Plan is due tomorrow to Judge Pechman.
Ace Reporter, Greg Johns of the Seattle PI writes an interesting report for the occasion that is chalk full of amusing nuggets, here is a sampling of the full story (read that story here).
Faced with the potential legal might of the NBA, former Sonics chairman Howard Schultz filed a motion Thursday asking Judge Marsha Pechman to split his lawsuit against Clay Bennett's ownership group into two parts.
The maneuver is partially in response to the NBA's motion to intervene in the case, given the league's insistence that it be involved in any transfer of ownership. Additionally, NBA commissioner David Stern has made it clear to Schultz that his continued pursuit of litigation would become "very expensive" for him and his former partners, according to the motion.
If granted by Pechman, the split trial would potentially keep the NBA and its legal team on the sideline until the second phase to determine how the court might resolve the dispute.
In a declaration by Schultz filed with the motion, the Starbucks chairman outlines how Stern pressured him to drop his litigation and join with the city in its settlement last month that allowed the franchise to be moved to Oklahoma City.
Schultz said Yarmuth was asked to meet with the city's attorneys on June 23, the Monday during the five-day break in the city's trial, and was told the city had agreed to settle with Bennett on the condition that Schultz's suit also be dropped.
Schultz declined, saying his "primary objective was to secure an NBA team in Seattle and that objective was not adequately ensured by that settlement."
The next day, Stern attempted to contact Schultz by phone and e-mail. Schultz got back to the commissioner a day later and was told Stern wanted "to hear it from the horse's mouth" as to why he was not dismissing his suit.
According to Schultz, Stern said "if I did not join in the settlement, I should realize it will become very expensive for me and my partners and he implied that I should reconsider my position."
Ultimately Schultz stuck with his suit, and six days after the city's settlement was informed that the NBA was filing its motion to intervene in the case. On July 11, Yarmuth received a fax from a New York law firm indicating the NBA's intention to pursue all legal remedies against Schultz and indicating that a "release and indemnification" agreement required at the time of the original sale requires Schultz's Basketball Club of Seattle be responsible for all expenses and reasonable legal fees incurred in connection with any lawsuits, even if Schultz prevails.
. . .
That's right, split the case into identifying that there was or wasn't a harm; then explore with the NBA their argument about the proposed remedy is to the potential harm, if proved. It looks like the NBA intends to act in bad faith in the court action, so, maybe Schultz has a real shot at breaking off what many have voiced as the unlikely part of the case: how do you move them back and is it possible for a judge to ignore the NBA rules if the leading agreement was entered into under fraudulent pretense? Hmm, yes, not too many are arguing that the fraud part will be the hard part, for a reason, his name is Clay Bennett.
Do yourself a favor, read the motion, here so YOU can explain it to others (conclusion is on page 8 of 9).
"In light of the NBA's motion to intervene, bifurcation is particularly appropriate," Yarmuth wrote in Thursday's motion. "Not only would it permit the Court to reserve its decision on whether to permit the NBA to intervene until later in the case (when it might be relevant and appropriate), it would also ensure that this case does not become an unnecessarily expensive and over-lawyered three-party litigation until absolutely necessary (if at all)."
Schultz would also like to divide the two trials by a period of four months or so in order to allow potential investors to come forward who might be interested in purchasing the team with the intent of keeping it in Seattle, should he succeed in unwinding his 2006 sale of the Sonics to the Oklahoma City owners. - Greg Johns, Seattle PI
When you are done with that, and you want to have a strange feeling of righteous indignation, read Howard's Declaration here. Here's a neat part, here's part you knew: he's over 18 years old.
I'll end this as I began, a toast to Howard Schultz, I raise a glass of Paulaner's Double Bock Salvator. Salvator, which translates into saviour.
Is that the case, or the beer talking, oh sweet irony, we know the answer.