Anthony's lawyers to amend complaint
DENVER -- Carmelo Anthony's lawsuit that accused his former business manager of misappropriating more than $2 million of his assets has been provisionally dismissed by a federal judge in Sacramento, Calif., so the NBA star's lawyers can amend the complaint.
Judge William B. Shubb ruled the lawsuit "[did] not plead facts that plausibly suggest each defendant is liable for the claims in the complaint."
Shubb gave Anthony's attorneys until Dec. 25 to file an amended complaint that would meet stricter pleading standards set forth in a Supreme Court case decided three months before Anthony's original lawsuit was filed on Aug. 17.
"Plaintiffs, however, are admonished to thoroughly and carefully set forth their allegations in any subsequent amended complaint, as both judicial resources and fairness to defendants preclude unlimited opportunities to amend the pleadings," the judge warned.
The lawsuit alleges that Anthony's former business manager, Larry W. Harmon, and employees of Larry Harmon & Associates P.A., breached their fiduciary duties by misappropriating millions of Anthony's money without his knowledge or consent.
Harmon, founder of Harmon-Castillo, LLP, of Roseville, Calif., said Monday his firm was substantially harmed by the lawsuit.
"While we are pleased with the judge's order, we come away from it with a damaged reputation, a substantial loss in earnings and harm to something upon which we cannot place a price: our good name," Harmon said in a statement to the AP. "Our job was to guide Carmelo and advise him when we thought his money was being unwisely spent. We looked out for him in the way we do all of our clients and the result was his anger and this lawsuit."
Anthony's lawyer, Robert W. Hirsh, told the AP he would refile the complaint as requested and called the ruling "purely a procedural issue."
"The court made a procedural ruling having nothing to do with the merits of the case requesting additional specificity in the complaint and we will comply," Hirsh said. "Mr. Harmon's attempt to miscast a simple procedural ruling requesting additional specificity based upon a brand new Supreme Court ruling into a substantive result is dishonest."
Harmon referred the AP to his lawyer, James J. Banks, for a response. Banks told the AP: "It isn't disingenuous at all. The order speaks for itself. Mr. Harmon believes the litigation has harmed his reputation and his business."
Anthony was the third selection in the 2003 NBA draft after leading Syracuse to the national title as a freshman. Last year, he led the Nuggets to their best season in 24 years after helping the U.S. team win the gold medal at the Beijing Olympics.
Anthony is in the fourth year of a five-year, $80 million contract extension he signed in 2006. He is the league's leading scorer this season.
Copyright 2009 by The Associated Press