September 23, 2023


Equality opinion

Utah Jazz fan’s attorney will get to see Russell Westbrook’s disciplinary document

Utah Jazz fan’s law firm will get to see Russell Westbrook’s disciplinary document

Lawsuit requires 2019 incident that Westbrook says was racial.

FILE – In this March 11, 2019, file picture, Oklahoma Town Thunder’s Russell Westbrook gets into a heated verbal altercation with admirers in the 1st fifty percent of an NBA basketball match towards the Utah Jazz, in Salt Lake City. A Utah Jazz admirer who was banned for life from Vivint Smart Property Arena just after allegedly yelling what Russell Westbrook claimed ended up “racial” and “inappropriate” remarks at him, has sued the Houston Rockets player and the Jazz, declaring he was wrongly accused. The lawsuit, filed Monday, Dec. 16, 2019, in 4th District Court docket in Utah County on behalf of Shane Keisel and his girlfriend Jennifer Huff, seeks $100 million in compensatory and punitive damages, alleging defamation and infliction of psychological distress. (AP Photo/Rick Bowmer, File)

The authorized team for Washington Wizards guard Russell Westbrook endured a slight defeat in a Utah County court docket Monday.

Final December, Utah Jazz fan Shane Keisel and girlfriend Jennifer Huff submitted a lawsuit from Westbrook and the Utah Jazz, seeking $100 million merged in damages on statements of defamation and infliction of emotional distress. Keisel and Huff argue that Westbrook and the Jazz’s general public statements in the wake of a verbal altercation amongst the fan and the then-Oklahoma Metropolis guard led to Keisel shedding employment alternatives and acquiring death threats.

On Monday, legal professionals for Keisel, Westbrook, and the Jazz satisfied in a virtual courtroom to argue above whether or not or not Westbrook’s in-depth disciplinary history as an NBA participant was evidence Keisel’s legal staff could entry in preparing for trial.

Westbrook’s lawyers argued it must be withheld on the grounds that Westbrook’s disciplinary history experienced no lawful relevance to the incident on March 15, 2019, which resulted in Keisel having a life span ban from Vivint Arena.

“The plaintiffs, 100{dcfa4b42334872b3517041d7075c48816e8f617446b245cec30e8949517ffd84}, want to use that proof to show that Russell Westbrook is a even worse guy than Shane Keisel,” Matthew Lalli, one of Westbrook’s lawyers, argued — noting that would be inadmissible proof.

Having said that, Keisel’s authorized staff countered that Westbrook’s record could be pertinent. In certain, they suggested if the NBA had warned Westbrook about potential discipline in inappropriate fan interactions, that he may well be inspired to lie about what transpired with Keisel to escape suspension.

“Russell Westbrook produced a choice to make it about race to secure himself,” Keisel allegedly explained on social media in the times soon after the incident.

Judge Derek Pullan sided with Keisel’s attorneys, overturning a preceding ruling that forbid the disciplinary record from going to Keisel’s staff.

Although the fines levied for Westbrook’s prior interactions with supporters are community, the NBA’s warnings would not be. Monday’s ruling doesn’t make Westbrook’s total disciplinary background a make a difference of general public history — that would be made a decision afterwards in the legal approach. So too could be depositions of Westbrook, Keisel and Jazz executives. The NBA, and commissioner Adam Silver, were being also subpoenaed in relation to the lawsuit.

Monday’s arguments also integrated a discussion more than whether Keisel applied the phrase “down” when yelling at the guard to “get on [his] knees,” and no matter whether or not it legally mattered.

“If you’re on your knees, you are down on your knees,” Jazz law firm Jeffrey Hunt argued. “It’s a submissive place.”

That was 1 reason presented that the assertion could be construed as racial in character — a situation which the Jazz have a sociologist ready to testify to, if necessary. Keisel’s attorneys claimed his comment was only supposed to signify Westbrook should really proceed taking part in basketball.

Other individuals nearby, although, took the assert as a sexual reference, and Keisel admitted this likely interpretation as perfectly in an early job interview. The Jazz say that both the racial or sexual character of Keisel’s shouts would justify banning Keisel underneath the NBA’s code of carry out.