Judge Rabeea Sultan Collier ruled that the plaintiff, who filed a civil lawsuit against Deshaun Watson last week, has 24 hours to amend her application to include her name if she wishes to continue the lawsuit.
The verdict was reached Monday in a summary hearing in the 113th Circuit Court in Harris County, Texas. During the hearing, Watson’s attorney, Rusty Hardin, asked the court to direct the attorney to identify the plaintiff’s name and “penalties for having us go through this.”
The lawsuit, filed under the alias Jane Doe, is the 26th known civil lawsuit against Watson alleging inappropriate sexual misconduct or sexual assault during massage sessions. The previous lawsuits were filed by attorney Tony Buzbee.
Hardin said during the hearing that his legal team compared the latest action to one of Buzbee’s cases, saying, “You can see in that red line that they just copied Mr. Buzbee’s plea almost entirely.
“And the relevance of that is that Mr. Buzbee’s case is like that [one of the cases] in which the court ordered him to speak again and tell us the name,” Hardin said.
“There’s no question they wouldn’t know they had to tell us the name.” Hardin’s team spent 72 hours trying to get the name, he said, adding, “And so we want to ask for the name and we want sanctions for having to go through that.”
In April 2021, 22 women who had filed lawsuits against Watson changed their petitions to include their names after two judges ruled they must do so to continue their cases. One of the lawsuits filed against Watson at the time was dropped.
The latest plaintiff’s attorney, Michelle Kornblith, said she would provide the defendant with the name of her client but would not publicly disclose it.
“We don’t really have a problem telling them who our plaintiff is, but we would seek either a non-disclosure order or a protection order,” Kornblith said. “We are already receiving hate emails and post from the moment this was submitted and we are concerned for their safety. And like I said, we have no problem telling him who the plaintiff is as long as we know she will be safe.”
Collier did not rule on the possibility of sanctions during the hearing.
Watson has settled 23 of the lawsuits against him over the offseason, but one remains active, according to Buzbee.
Watson is serving an 11-game suspension for violating the NFL’s personal conduct guidelines by sexually assaulting massage therapists, as defined by the league. On August 18, the NFL and the NFL Players Association reached an agreement on Watson’s suspension. He was also fined $5 million and had to undergo a mandatory treatment program.
NFL spokesman Brian McCarthy said in a statement Friday that Watson’s 11-game suspension remains in place, but he could expect more discipline if he is found to have further violated the league’s code of conduct.
“Watson’s status remains unchanged,” McCarthy said. “We will monitor developments in the newly filed lawsuits and any conduct warranting further investigation or possible additional sanctions will be addressed in the Personal Conduct Policy.”
Two grand juries in Texas declined to enter charges against Watson earlier this year. But Sue L. Robinson, an independent umpire appointed jointly by the league and players’ union, noted that “the NFL had its burden of proving, by preponderating the evidence, that Mr. Watson was involved in sexual assault.” . Robinson concluded in her report that Watson’s behavior was “outrageous” and “predatory”.
Watson was allowed back into the Browns training facility this week after being suspended as part of the settlement since August 30. He won’t be able to train with the team again until November 14 and won’t be eligible to play until Week 13, when the Browns travel to Houston on December 4 to face the Texans.
https://www.espn.com/nfl/story/_/id/34818631/judge-gives-new-deshaun-watson-plaintiff-24-hours-give-name Judge gives new Deshaun Watson plaintiff 24 hours to give name