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Home / Johnny Wilkes

Judge rules man seeking $2.5 million from Clippers and West can expand suit

A man who sued the Los Angeles Clippers and Jerry West, alleging he is owed $2.5 million for helping the team sign Kawhi Leonard, can expand his lawsuit with three new claims, a judge ruled Wednesday.

Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Jon R. Takasugi granted plaintiff Johnny Wilkes’ motion to add causes of action for intentional misrepresentation, concealment, and false promise.

“(Wilkes) contends that (the new claims) are premised on allegations obtained during recent deposition testimony where defendants allege that Jerry West is an independent contractor and does not have the authority to enter into an agreement on behalf of the Clippers,” Takasugi wrote.

The team and West have not shown any meaningful prejudice they could suffer by the judge allowing Wilkes to expand his suit, according to Takasugi.

Wilkes alleges in his suit brought in December 2020 that he and West reached a verbal deal in 2019 in which Wilkes would provide the Clippers with information to lure Leonard to Los Angeles, taking advantage of the plaintiff’s close relationship with Leonard and the player’s uncle, Dennis Robertson.

In depositions, West, now 84, and Clippers President of Basketball Operations Lawrence Frank said West was a consultant to the team and an independent contractor, but that he did not have any authority to enter into any kind of contract on behalf of the Clippers with Wilkes or anyone else.

Despite the deposition testimony, Wilkes alleges that West made representations to the contrary in their alleged dealings,  culminating in a contract between the two in which the Clippers became bound to pay the plaintiff $2.5 million.

Leonard, 31, underwent surgery in July 2021 to repair a partially torn right ACL he suffered earlier in a second-round playoff series with the Utah Jazz and did not play for the team during the entire 2021-22 season.

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