Irv Levin, former owner of the San Diego Clippers, has filed a suit seeking more than $17 million from Bill Walton and two Los Angeles physicians, claiming they misrepresented Walton's physical condition during negotiations that led to the signing of the 6-foot-11 center in 1979.
The suit was filed in Los Angeles Superior Court by attorney Frank Rothman on behalf of the San Diego Clippers Basketball Club Inc., which owned the team when Walton was signed.
Also named was Dr. Ernest Vandeweghe, a specialist in pediatrics and sports medicine who also is Walton's agent and business adviser, and Dr. Anthony Daly, an orthopedic surgeon.
Both were identified in court documents as Walton's physicians while his contract with the Clippers was being negotiated.
The suit, filed Tuesday, alleges the doctors misrepresented Walton's physical condition "when they knew or should have known" that he suffered from a congenital bone defect in his left foot and "would probably continue to suffer further injuries . . . due to the inability of the foot to withstand the continued stress to which it would be subjected in the course of playing professional basketball."
Walton was recovering from a stress fracture that had sidelined him the entire 1978-79 season when he signed a $5 million contract with the Clippers in May 1979.
He refractured the navicular bone in the foot three times and played only 14 games for the Clippers over 1 1/2 seasons before the injury forced him to retire. Walton is attending Stanford Law School.
Levin's corporation seeks damages of more than $17 million and is asking the court to rescind Walton's contract, relieving the corporation of paying Walton $700,000 for each of the next three years. Lloyds of London reimbursed the Levin corporation for $1.25 million in insurance in March 1981.
Levin sold the Clippers to Donald Sterling last summer.