Legal Problems Piling Up For Lamar Odom

Former Los Angeles Laker Lamar Odom is now facing a civil lawsuit with potentially massive damages following a fight with paparazzi.

Lamar Odom used to be known for his game-changing contributions off the bench as the best 6th Man in the NBA. Then he married a Kardashian and it has been all down hill from there. Since joining the Kardashian clan and becoming a reality TV star, Odom was traded from the Lakers to the Mavericks, sent down to the D-league, arrested for DUI, and allegedly developed a crack cocaine addiction. On top of that, his wife, Khloe Kardashian has reportedly severed all ties with Odom and shut off the couple’s credit cards.

Yet while Odom struggles with drugs, alcohol, and the Kardashian family, he must now defend himself against accusations of assault, conversion, and trespass to chattels following a violent run-in with paparazzi. Photographer Stefan Saad filed a civil lawsuit against Odom in the Los Angeles County Superior Court of California on September 10 seeking $15,000 in property damages, $50,000 in compensatory damages, $500,000 in damages for emotional distress, as well as punitive damages. Odom has thirty (30) days to get sober enough to hire a lawyer to file an Answer or he will face a default judgment.

Perhaps most interesting about Saad’s lawsuit is not his lofty claimed damages, but the hilarious drafting of his lawyer, Justin Sobodash.

Sobodash, a UCLA law grad who has represented Wale and Kit Pistol, wasted no time in the Complaint attacked the Kardashian family for being “famous for being famous.” The Complaint (full text below) alleges that Odom attacked the plaintiff, “a paparazzi who dared to ask him about reports that Mr. Odom was cheating on his wife, Khloe Kardashian. After this attack, at least one member of the Kardashian family ‘doubled down’ with false accusations against plaintiff, attempting to use their fame and privileged place in society to blame the victim.”

And in case you forgot, “the Kardashian family is now known for various commercial pursuits and reality television shows, it gained notoriety when Kim Kardashian was the object of an unlawfully distributed ‘sex tape’ in 2007. The frenzy of media coverage following release of the sex tape, driven in no small part by paparazzi, provided Kim Kardashian with sufficient fame to spin her sex tape into a reality show featuring her and her extended family, ‘Keeping Up With the Kardashians.’”

Lamar Odom threatens the plaintiff with a metal rod while carrying away his case of photography equipment.

As to the incident at issue, the plaintiff asked Odom if he cheated on his wife. Odom then “reacted to this question by exiting his vehicle, grabbing a large metal rod, hitting a third party’s vehicle with the metal rod, and proceeding to trespass into plaintiff’s vehicle to take plaintiff’s camera and other equipment. Mr. Odom smashed plaintiff’s camera in the middle of the street while plaintiff stood by. Mr. Saad dared not approach Mr. Odom or Mr. Saad’s property, as Mr. Odom was wielding a weapon, signaling his willingness to use it against plaintiff. After a short time, Mr. Odom backed away from plaintiff’s smashed property, but when plaintiff attempted to retrieve it Mr. Odom reversed course and approached plaintiff wielding the metal rod. Plaintiff backed away to maintain his distance, only to watch Mr. Odom place plaintiff’s equipment in Mr. Odom’s automobile and drive away.Determined to retrieve the tools of his trade, plaintiff followed Mr. Odom in his automobile and repeatedly requested the return of his equipment. Ultimately, Mr. Odom again smashed Mr. Saad’s equipment on Hollywood Boulevard in a display that can only be understood as having the intention to humiliate Mr. Saad, adding insult to injury.”

Odom’s violent temper could cost him. The entire incident was caught on tape and there is no question that Odom smashed Saad’s camera equipment and then joined the Kardashians in a social media attack on Saad.

To win, Saad will have to prove the following elements:

Assault – Odom acted, intending to cause harmful [or offensive] contact and Saad reasonably believed that he was about to be touched in a harmful [or an offensive] manner

Conversion – That he owned/possessed/had a right to possess his camera equipment, that Odom intentionally and substantially interfered with the property by destroying the property without consent. Note, though, that conversion is a strict liability tort in California so Odom is likely liable for the property damage (Burlesci v. Petersen, 68 Cal.App.4th 1062 (1998)).

Trespass to Chattel – That he owned/possessed/had a right to possess his camera equipment, that Odom intentionally interfered with Saad’s use or possession of the equipment without consent.

If I were Odom’s lawyer I would advise him to settle this claim and pay for the property damage. The punitive and compensatory damages in this case could be huge, particularly with the wrong jury. Saad alleges that he made $2,500 per week and had to miss significant time from work due to this incident. Odom does not want to foot that wage loss claim.

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