Six days ago, no lawsuits had been filed against Texans quarterback Deshaun Watson alleging misconduct during massage sessions. The number has reached nine.
Via Aaron Reiss of TheAthletic.com, two more lawsuits against Watson have been filed. Seven were filed last week.
On Friday, lawyer Tony Buzbee said at a press conference that 12 total lawsuits will be filed, and that he is speaking to at least 10 more potential plaintiffs.
Buzbee has insisted that the lawsuits aren’t about the money, focusing on the notion that the lawsuits seek the “jurisdictional minimum” of $500. But this doesn’t mean Buzbee wants only the minimum amount of $500 per client; a demand for $500 is the minimum amount required to get the case in court. It’s not a limitation on the amount of money that ultimately may change hands via settlement or verdict.
Every lawsuit filed against Watson by Buzbee has a claim for damages, including claims for (based on the first lawsuit filed last week) “conscious physical and mental pain and suffering, and anguish, past and future,” for “physical impairment, past and future,” for “loss of enjoyment of life and peace of mind, past and future,” for “reasonable and necessary medical, counseling, psychiatric, therapeutic and related expenses, past and future,” for “loss of earnings and earning capacity,” and punitive damages.
So these cases are about the money, and that’s fine. That’s how the civil justice system works. The powerful hold the powerful accountable by making them pay for their misdeeds.
Buzbee is trying to have it both ways, scoring points in the court of public opinion by claiming it’s not about money while preserving his ability to seek every last dollar for his clients (as he should).
Again, that’s fine. That’s how it works. Buzbee knows it. He also knows that the average person is more likely to chafe at a perceived money grab than at an noble and virtuous effort to advance broader societal interests.
The truth is that the civil justice system can, and should, do both. Buzbee has somehow managed to sidestep that reality in a P.R. push that has caught and kept Watson and his lawyers/advisors flatfooted.
Lawyer Rusty Hardin has said Watson’s response is coming this week. In the court of public opinion, there’s a chance that it’s already too late.