Roger writing the LAWmag
17
Jul 2010

Lawyer Sues to be Declared Father of Basketball Star Lebron James

Leicester Bryce Stovell is a 55-year old attorney based in Washington, D.C. He stands 6 foot, 8 inches. He has a J.D. law degree from the University of Chicago (1977) and enjoyed an 18-year career (1983-2002) tenure at the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission as a staff attorney. Previous, he had been employed by Baker & Hostetler in Cleveland and Jenner & Brock in Chicago. Since 2002, he has his own single-lawyer law firm.

On June 23, 2010, he paid $350 to file claim 1:2010cv01059 in the District Of Columbia District Court.

Bryce Stovell looking like LeBron James

Side by side comparison of LeBron James and Leicester Bryce Stovell
(assisted by the photoshopped headband).

Do you see the resemblance?

 

The defendants are Gloria Marie James and Miami Heat basketball player, Lebron Ramone James, the latter born in Akron, Ohio on December 30, 1984. The core complaint: Gloria's alleged long-term deceit aimed at preventing Stovell from becoming aware of his paternity.

Stovel alleges that Lebron:

"... has come to direct and control, conspire in, or knowingly or recklessly aid and abet his mother's unjustifiable attempts to prevent the acknowledgment that I am his father."

Then, well, Americans litigants do what American litigants do.

Gloria's lawyer, Fred Nance contacted the national gossip paparazzi show, TMZ (run by another lawyer). The hell with sub judice,: Nance told TMZ that Stovell was a just a "money grubber".

Stovell, too, has jumped into the public relations foray, speaking to a variety of national news media.

TMI

The law suit, a statement of claim, is astonishing in several aspects.

First, the sheer length and detail of it, as if it were an affidavit in a very personal family law file.

Second, it gives (too much information) as to the sexual encounter from which, Stovell alleges, the basketball start was issue.

Stovell seemed to transcribe from his diary and write cover for the tabloids, necessarily aware this would embarrass his alleged son.

In self-represented style, he said he had an encounter with Ms James in March 1984 at a Washington, DC bar. She stated that she was in her early twenties and he evidently didn't check credentials (the District of Columbia Criminal Code defines a minor as "any person under 16 years of age"):

"Gloria ... accompanied me to my home.... I drove us. Once there, Defendant Gloria James and I had a brief consensual sexual relationship. She ... advised me ... that she was a virgin.

"Later that night I apologized to Defendant Gloria James because I, being tired, thought I might not have satisfied her."

At paragraph 10, he refers to his:

"... apology for what I had assumed was my unsatifying (and incomplete) performance that evening."

A few months later, according to Stovell, James tracked him down to tell him she was pregnant. According to the claim, Stovell's nickname was "LeBron". Ms James said that she liked that and promptly left.

Back at the bar he says he first met her, Stovell claims the bartender told him that Gloria was only 15. After that revelation, Stovell made no effort to locate or reconnect with the pregnant teenager.

When LeBron was born in Akron on December 30, 1984, the space for the father's name on the birth registration was left blank, unknown; Stovell, oblivious to all.

Years Went By

In 2006 when Stovell says a friend noted his resemblance with a rising young university basketball player, LeBron James. Gloria James was then asserting that the father was Anthony McClelland, who Stovell asserts was a convicted felon "incarcerated several times on charges of arson and theft."

Stovell also asserts, in his claim, that DNA tests excluded McClelland.LeBron masked

Stovell contacted LeBron's well-known lawyer, F. Nance who arranged a conference call between Stovell and Gloria James. According to Stovell, Ms James instead used the occasion to warn Stovell to back off his claim of paternity or "I will have you harmed, professionally and even physically."

Still, LeBron himself agreed to a DNA test provided LeBron or his lawyers chose the lab. Stovell agreed but when he arrived, he says that the testing procedures were sloppy and informal. Right away, he was worried about the tests. Then, according to his claim, when he drove away from the testing lab, he was trailed by a Hummer driven by Ms James' boyfriend, Eddie Jackson.

Days later, he received the results: 0% probability of paternity.

This didn't sit well with Stovell.

He bought a ticket to a Cleveland Cavaliers basketball game to see his "son" and he was immediately struck by their similarities.

In June of 2009, he concluded that the DNA tests had been intentionally falsified. He asked for another test, this time at a lab of his choosing. Both LeBron James and his mother refused; hence the litigation.

Equity

There might be one legitimate reason for the TMI statement of claim.

In Ohio, the right to assert paternity expires on the 23rd birthday of the purported child. For Stovell, given the statute of limitations, he has but one door left for relief. The sign on that door reads equity. In an equity claim, the plea is essentially one of fairness and justice; relief because the common law is egregious in the result, or that deceit or fraud has contributed to the alleged unfair statutory resolution.

Arguably, on that basis, the claim ought to provide more detail than what would be customary.

In any event, if LeBron James is his son, why not claim nominal damages from one's child? Stovell does not plead indigency but if he is successful, he is asking for $5-million from LeBron James.

Why the detail in regards to the alleged sexual encounter?

Stovell would reply that it proves that he had reason to believe that, initially, he was not a father and that he was justified in not investigating paternity sooner.

But once LeBron James' name showed up on billboards across the world, and reports of his signing of multi-million dollar contracts, Stovell's primordial needs were stoked?

At the same time, there are egregious allegations made against LeBron and his mother which, if proven in a court of law, will show Stovell for what he claims to be: the victim of a cover-up that deprived him forever with a relationship with his son for which no amount of money can adequately compensate.

REFERENCES:

  • District of Columbia Code, Chapter 22, §22-3101

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