When NBA legend Shaquille O’Neal was sued by an alleged former business associate who claimed the basketball great had ordered him to be kidnapped, he turned for help to KWIKA partners Michael Kump and Jonathan Steinsapir who removed the action to federal court and filed a motion to dismiss the entire lawsuit. The motion—which made it clear Shaq denies plaintiff’s ludicrous allegations—argued the entire action was time-barred by the applicable statute of limitations.
Plaintiff countered that the statute of limitations had been tolled by California Code of Civil Procedure Section 351 because Shaq lived outside the state of California from the time the causes of action accrued. Michael and Jonathan’s motion argued, however, that Section 351 cannot be constitutionally applied in this case because the unreasonable burden it would impose on interstate commerce violates the Commerce Clause of the U.S. Constitution.
On October 17, 2011, U.S. District Judge Jacqueline H. Nguyen granted KWIKA’s motion and dismissed the entire action with prejudice. Judge Nguyen found that “the burden on interstate commerce imposed by Section 351 outweighs the articulated state interest in this case, and the application of Section 351 to toll the statute of limitations on Plaintiff’s claims would violate the commerce clause.” (For more information, read Judge Nguyen’s opinion.)