Emergency hearings coming Friday in Deshaun Watson cases

USA TODAY Sports

The Deshaun Watson civil cases will have their first hearings on Friday.

Via Sarah Barshop of ESPN.com, a pair of hearings will be held tomorrow morning on the question of whether the 20 women suing Watson anonymously must disclose their identities. One will occur at 8:45 a.m. ET and the other will happen at noon ET.

Attorney Rusty Hardin ostensibly requested the emergency hearings because Watson’s deadline for responding to the civil complaints is approaching. It’s more likely, however, that Hardin used this tactic as a way to bring the matter to a head more quickly, in order to force attorney Tony Buzbee to the table for settlement talks.

Indeed, Watson’s official responses to the 20 complaints filed under the Jane Doe pseudonym could have consisted of broad denials of the various allegations based on the lack of specificity in the complaints. But that approach would not have applied immediate pressure to the unnamed plaintiffs to disclose their identities. If Hardin can secure a ruling that the 20 unnamed plaintiffs must disclose their names, one or more (and potentially all) of the 20 unnamed plaintiffs will be more likely to engage in meaningful settlement talks in order to keep their identities secret.

For Watson, there’s value in potentially resolving these cases sooner than later, setting the stage for a trade. But there’s currently no reason for Buzbee to cooperate. If a court orders that the unnamed plaintiffs must disclose their names, perhaps Buzbee will come to the table.

This strategy has no relevance to Ashley Solis and Lauren Baxley, the two plaintiffs who disclosed their identities earlier this week.

21 responses to “Emergency hearings coming Friday in Deshaun Watson cases

  1. An alternative outcome is that one or more plaintiffs will decide to drop their cases rather than to disclose their identity. As soon as the identities are disclosed, there will be private detectives hired to investigate these plaintiffs.

  2. If he settles with these women, which in most people’s minds is an admission of guilt, how could he ever possibly have the respect of his teammates? On any team?

  3. I’m guessing more of the victims are going to step forward tomorrow with Buzbee holding a press conference to introduce them, and then you’ll have multiple victims publicly claiming they were abused, and that will put tremendous pressure on Watson’s legal team to settle, and it won’t be for a hundred grand either

  4. There is no reason to hold an emergency hearing in this situation. Hardin does not need the Plaintiffs to be named in order to file Answers containing general denials to the Complaints. He could officially have the names now (in reality he already knows them) if he would agree to a confidentiality order. Hardin won’t do that, because he wants the names to be publicly released so that the victims will be harassed.

    Emergency hearings should be granted only when there is an imminent threat of someone’s rights being violated. That situation does not exist here.

  5. No matter your opinion on this issue, I’m shocked to read that so many of you are ok with how this is all playing out in social media. These are not criminal proceedings nor are there any pending criminal charges. A man (liable or not) is being accused of sexual assault and being sued for civil damages by anonymous plaintiffs. How is this fair to the defendant? Would anyone be ok by someone suing you and blowing you up on social media, while protecting their clients’ anonymity?

  6. Here’s where lawyers get to lawyering! If the judge rules that the massage therapists must file under their actual names, then the next move by the Watson team will be to ask each plaintiff for every text message, every email, every scrap of internet communication, phone records, previous complaints, court filings, settlement negotiations, bankruptcies, etc.,. Then depositions will be scheduled that will cover every act and statement since the onset of puberty if those acts will, in any way, yield vital information. Game on!!

  7. Rusty Hardin repped Roger Clemens. He went after the federal government in the same manner. For him a win is a win, for Watson a win could still be a loss with nfl discipline.

  8. There are laws regarding the identities of victims of crimes such as this. I would imagine the names might be released to Watson and his legal team but won’t be released publicly.

  9. Just when we think we are just about all out of wood work for someone to crawl out of, today is another day.

  10. It wouldn’t surprise me that the NFL as we currently know it ceases to exist sometime within the next 10-15 years.

  11. There is no reason to hold an emergency hearing in this situation. Hardin does not need the Plaintiffs to be named in order to file Answers containing general denials to the Complaints. He could officially have the names now (in reality he already knows them) if he would agree to a confidentiality order. Hardin won’t do that, because he wants the names to be publicly released so that the victims will be harassed.

    Emergency hearings should be granted only when there is an imminent threat of someone’s rights being violated. That situation does not exist here.

    Looks like we have no shortage of lawyers

  12. When the facts aren’t on your side, argue the law. When the law isn’t on your side, argue the facts. When neither are on your side, hire Rusty Hardin.

  13. Irregardless of guilt or innocence, Watson has the right to confront his accusers and 20 Jane Does makes this impossible.

  14. I don’t recall any other case being waged so publicly from day one. A lot of commenters here seem very eager to declare Watson guilty and end his career. That’s not how this is supposed to work, and none of us would feel like we were getting equal justice if this happened to us.

    My contention from the start is that this whole thing has been orchestrated to punish Watson for speaking out and wanting out of Houston. Even if he’s found innocent his reputation is ruined forever.

    The rights of all parties personally involved need to be upheld (meaning Watson and the accusers) and Buzbee seems like he mostly cares about winning the war for public opinion.

  15. sportoficionado says:
    April 8, 2021 at 8:47 pm
    No matter your opinion on this issue, I’m shocked to read that so many of you are ok with how this is all playing out in social media. These are not criminal proceedings nor are there any pending criminal charges. A man (liable or not) is being accused of sexual assault and being sued for civil damages by anonymous plaintiffs. How is this fair to the defendant? Would anyone be ok by someone suing you and blowing you up on social media, while protecting their clients’ anonymity?
    ———————————————————————————-
    100% agree. First off, Innocent until proven guilty has long since been dead. Made worse by social media. The damage is already done, no matter what the outcome. These accusers have NOTHING to lose by making claims. They should at least be made to file a criminal complaint. That way, if these allegations are NOT true, they can deal with some sort of repercussions. IT is sad that so many here just assume guilt and are ready to throw Watson to the side. Just because this is a big athlete doesn’t mean it can’t happen to YOU. Imagine being accused of these allegations and every day people posting about it on social media. You probably lose your job, your family, friends and the respect of your peers. All BEFORE anything has been proven.

    If these allegations are true, then Watson deserves everything he gets. It they aren’t the accusers feet should be held to the fire. The fact that so many here already have convicted him is downright scary.

  16. afanof7 says:
    April 8, 2021 at 7:31 pm
    They’ll get a 7th rounder at this point
    //////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////
    i don’t think even the argonauts would even offer a trade for him at this point

  17. PFTSelectiveCensorship says:
    April 9, 2021 at 8:47 am
    sportoficionado says:
    April 8, 2021 at 8:47 pm
    No matter your opinion on this issue, I’m shocked to read that so many of you are ok with how this is all playing out in social media. These are not criminal proceedings nor are there any pending criminal charges. A man (liable or not) is being accused of sexual assault and being sued for civil damages by anonymous plaintiffs. How is this fair to the defendant? Would anyone be ok by someone suing you and blowing you up on social media, while protecting their clients’ anonymity?
    ———————————————————————————-
    100% agree. First off, Innocent until proven guilty has long since been dead. Made worse by social media. The damage is already done, no matter what the outcome. These accusers have NOTHING to lose by making claims. They should at least be made to file a criminal complaint.

    —–

    It’s a civil complaint. There is zero requirement to file a criminal complaint. In fact, that would be the DA’s decision

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