Back in 2010, Leicester Bryce Stovell, a D.C.-based lawyer, filed a pro se lawsuit against LeBron James claiming he was the star athlete’s father — and that he had the genetic material to prove it. As it turns out, the paternity test came back negative, but that didn’t stop Stovell from further alleging that he had been defamed when LeBron was quoted as saying that he “want[ed] to be a better father than [his] was.” The King’s lawyers from Squire Sanders argued that Stovell was simply delusional, and the case got bounced out of court.
You’d think that Stovell would’ve taken his ball and gone home, but earlier this spring, he returned to court to file additional defamation charges against his fantastical son for making statements about his father (i.e., anyone but Leicester Bryce Stovell) in a Sports Illustrated interview.
On Labor Day, a federal judge — the same one who originally came to the conclusion that Stovell wasn’t the father — took Stovell to task for his lacking lawyering skills…
Before we get to the case’s resolution, here’s the Sports Illustrated quote that Stovell sued James over:
“My father wasn’t around when I was a kid, and I use to always say, ‘Why me? Why don’t I have a father? Why isn’t he around? Why did he leave my mother?’ But as I got older I looked deeper though, ‘I don’t know what my father was going through, but if he was around all the time, would I be who I am today?’” James said. “It made me grow up fast. It helped me be more responsible. Maybe I wouldn’t be sitting here right now.”
Let the record reflect that LeBron James doesn’t name Leicester Bryce Stovell as his father. Let the record further reflect that Stovell was already ruled out as LeBron James’s father by a paternity test. Instead, this T14-educated attorney alleged that because his 2010 lawsuit “received worldwide media attention” and because there’s an uncanny resemblance between the himself and his faux son, people would associate LeBron’s statements about his deadbeat dad with him. Logical reasoning isn’t this man’s forte.
Now is a great time to remind our readers of what LeBron’s lawyers once said about this man, a former SEC attorney who in 2010 was referred to as a “total freakshow” by one of our tipsters:
“Stovell may truly believe that he is the father of LeBron James, even though a DNA test has told him otherwise. But his delusions do not give rise to a cause of action….”
And now, on to Stovell’s botched lawyering job. In D.C., there’s a one-year statute of limitations on defamation claims. Although the Sports Illustrated cover date was April 30, 2012, the magazine was available for sale and published online five days earlier, on April 25, 2012. Stovell filed his suit on April 29, 2013, making the claim time barred. Way to get fouled out of court, bro.
(The judge’s opinion is available on the next page.)