A childhood friend of Milwaukee Brewers star Ryan Braun is moving forward in his lawsuit against the athlete, including taking depositions and representing himself in court.

Ralph Sasson, Braun’s former college friend, filed a lawsuit against Braun and his agent last year for failure to pay for special research services. Sasson alleges that he was hired by Braun’s agent, Nez Balelo of Creative Artists Agency, to do research for Braun after the athlete failed a drug test and do background checks on the Kenosha man who was responsible for collecting Braun’s urine sample.

Sasson, who is studying law online, says he was supposed to be paid a total of $7,000. Sasson alleges that he received only $2,000 and that he had to threaten to sue in order to get the last $5,000 payment. He claims Braun made defamatory comments about him later, despite all parties signing a non-disparagement agreement.

Sasson took his first deposition from Balelo on March 21, and is expected to depose Braun on April 24 when the player has a day off between home series games.

Team lawyers have attempted to get the case thrown out, but Circuit Judge Paul Van Grunsven found enough merit to move the case into discovery. In order to address defense attorneys’ fears that Sasson would use the case to bring in defamatory witnesses, Judge Van Grunsven ordered that depositions would be conducted in his chambers so he could rule on any objections.

Balelo’s attorney also requested that Sasson should be required to submit all his questions for the depositions in advance, but the motion was denied.

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