The Work

September 15, 2011 1:21 PM

Squire Sanders Helps LeBron James Scuttle Ex-Am Law Associate's Paternity Claim

Posted by Brian Baxter

A federal judge in Washington, D.C., has tossed out a lawsuit filed by Leicester Bryce Stovell, a former Securities and Exchange Commission lawyer and one-time Baker & Hostetler and Jenner & Block associate who claimed he was LeBron James's father and that the basketball star's mother had defamed him, according to sibling publication The National Law Journal.

The NLJ's Blog of Legal Times reports that U.S. district court judge Colleen Kollar-Kotelly ruled Wednesday that Stovell's suit failed to show that he had incurred any actual damages, such as lost commercial opportunities, as a result of a paternity test he sought to prove he fathered James after an alleged late-night liaison with Gloria James in the early 1980s.

Stovell's suit gained widespread attention when he filed it in June 2010, just before James announced during a live television broadcast that he was leaving the Cleveland Cavaliers to "take my talents to South Beach" and play for the Miami Heat.

Kollar-Kotelly ruled that many of Stovell's claims—such as his attempt to seek damages from the loss of love and affection from his alleged son—were dubious. (Click here for the judge's full 21-page opinion.)

To fight the suit, James turned to his longtime lawyers from Squire, Sanders & Dempsey. The firm's team on the matter—led by D.C. office managing partner John Burlingame, litigation partner Sarah Rathke, and regional managing partner and James confidante Frederick Nance—argued that Stovell's suit was merely a ploy to capitalize on their client's fame and fortune.

Speaking on behalf of the James legal team, Nance said in a statement to The NLJ that "we respect and believe in our judicial system, and it ultimately worked here to achieve the right result."

Stovell, a Washington, D.C., solo practitioner since leaving the SEC in 2002, is representing himself in the suit. He told the NLJ via e-mail that he disagrees with Kollar-Kotelly's ruling, but that the decision leaves him with "a number of legal options."

Gloria James has told other media outlets that her son's father is a man named Anthony McClelland, who remains estranged from the basketball star. In his suit, Stovell claimed that Nance told him that DNA tests showed McClelland was not James's father.

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Consider LeBron's questionable strategy in the case. He gets the complaint dismissed on technical legal grounds but leaves Stovell free for the rest of eternity to claim he is the father, with plenty of interviews, tabloid articles, rumors, innuendos and the like. So, LeBron wins the legal case but never lays the rumor to rest.

A better, cheaper, quicker strategy would have been to submit to genetic testing under court auspices. When LeBron gets the results back, Stovell is conclusively, factually defeated for all time. Game over. Of course, this "better" strategy only works if Stovell is not the father and the earlier genetic testing was not fraudulent.

This leads me to 2 alternative conclusions:
A. LeBron is completely stupid; or
B. Stovell is the father.

I don't think LeBron is stupid. I don't think his lawyers are stupid.

I AGREE!! Gloria and Lebron know Stovell is His father.. All they need is a True and valid Test controlled by a Court of Law, not some random one that can be paid off!

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