After being called liars by Deshaun Watson’s lawyer, 12 of Tony Buzbee’s 22 clients will attend status conference

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The cases against Texans quarterback Deshaun Watson return to court on Thursday for a status conference. Attorney Tony Buzbee says most of his clients will personally appear for the hearing.

Via Mark Berman of FOX 26 in Houston, Buzbee said that 12 of the 22 plaintiffs have “insisted on being present” for the hearing “because they were called liars by Watson’s attorney,” Rusty Hardin.

To put it in perspective, plenty of lawyers advise their clients in civil cases to show up for everything, so that the judge can see that they’re fully engaged in the process. Indeed, the client has an absolute right to attend any aspect of the case; whether they “insist” to be there or not, they can show up. That said, a status conference entails nothing substantive or significant. At most, future deadlines and dates will be identified for the litigation.

The status conference, unless Buzbee plans on grandstanding, will have nothing to do with the strategy deployed by Hardin on Monday, when the document he filed in court and the statement he provided to the media declared Watson’s and Hardin’s belief that all 22 plaintiffs are lying about the allegations of sexual misconduct during massage sessions. No motion has been filed on this point, and there would be no reason for Buzbee or his clients to stand up and say they’re insulted by anything Hardin said on Watson’s behalf.

Moreover, the fact that 12 will be present means that 10 won’t be. Buzbee’s contention invites speculation as to why the other 10 aren’t there. Do they have no issue with being called liars?

A separate question becomes what will happen after the hearing? It’s easy to envision Buzbee convening a press conference on the courthouse steps with his dozen clients standing behind him as he publicly takes issue with Hardin’s allegation.

At some point, the talking and the posturing has to end. Either the two sides will try to resolve the litigation, or they’ll proceed with getting ready for trial. In plenty of jurisdictions, the initial status conference becomes the moment at which the formal discovery process can commence. If Buzbee or Hardin want to go about gathering evidence to support their clients’ positions (and they should), there’s no reason to continue the battle in the court of public opinion when they can begin actively planning for the looming war in a court of law.

17 responses to “After being called liars by Deshaun Watson’s lawyer, 12 of Tony Buzbee’s 22 clients will attend status conference

  1. It’s suspicious that half the claimants won’t attend.
    I still think Watson made advances, and will get some kind of suspension, but no jail time, and he will be playing in 2022 if not sooner.
    It will be financiay costly for him because of lost endorsements

  2. Calling 22 women liars is dangerous for Hardin and Watson. They better have proof all 22 women are lying or this could backfire on Hardin and Watson.

  3. The 10 who aren’t showing up may be afraid of the abuse that will be thrown at them for accusing a popular athlete. Or they are embarrassed by what happened, or any other reason. But 12 showing up is not good for Watson. Putting a face on a victim is seldom good for the accused.

  4. “The status conference, unless Buzbee plans on grandstanding, will have nothing to do with the strategy deployed by Hardin on Monday”

    It seems just as likely that Hardin will engage in grandstanding. Claiming that all 22 victims are lying is the ultimate in grandstanding.

  5. “To put it in perspective, plenty of lawyers advise their clients in civil cases to show up for everything, so that the judge can see that they’re fully engaged in the process.”

    In over 20 years of litigating civil cases, I never advised a client to attend a hearing. In fact, I strongly encouraged them not to attend. Clients are way too emotional and likely to say or do something inappropriate.

    Judges conduct multiple hearings on a daily basis. They put no stock in whether the litigant in any particular case is present for a routine hearing.

  6. I would guess the other 10 aren’t showing up because it isn’t mandatory, they have a job, and they need the money.

  7. touchback6 says:
    April 22, 2021 at 7:25 am
    Watson is finished as is Antonio Brown.

    —–

    You said that about Brady and he just won a SB

  8. Well he pissed off 12 of them enough that they’re going to virtually glower at him at every opportunity now. Even if the other 10 are lying and that’s why they’re not attending (I mean couldn’t it be because of the irrelevant nature of the call just as Florio described it or due to shame) that doesn’t mean the 12 in attendance aren’t.

    Even if 21 are lying, 1 should be enough to do Watson.

  9. Why aren’t the 12 talking to the police? Seems like the easiest way to prove him wrong.

  10. I’m a bit surprised only 10 not showing up, considering Watson flew these people in from all around to “give him massages”. Not everyone has the time or $ to make long trips to show up to every hearing. Now, if it was just a local thing and all were from the same location, I might expect more to show up.

  11. These women didn’t need to do this, but they “insisted on” it. Calling all 22 liars doesn’t seem to be having the effect Watson/Hardin were hoping for, indeed it appears to have ticked them off.

    I’m surprised 12 have the volunteered to show up in public so early in the process though, further exposing themselves to unfortunately expected public backlash. Not all of these women live in Houston. Some I imagine have work/kids to deal with, and some are likely to have not yet been vaccinated here.

    There’s a saying, “Mess with the bull and you get the horns.” Well, good luck with that Mr. Watson. These women are not standing down.

  12. Plenty of cases settle sometime along the litigation path (often right before trial starts). So nothing HAS to end right now. Each attorney is doing what he thinks puts his client in the best position. Part of this is before the Court and part is before the court of public opinion.

  13. @SBC256 “Why aren’t the 12 talking to the police?”

    At least 5 women are talking to the police, perhaps more by now.

  14. Clients rarely attend status conferences in civil matters, so nothing should be read into attendance or non-attendance either way. The rubber will hit the road when the respective parties testify under oath either in depositions or hearings. I’m trying to reserve judgment, but man, its hard to imagine 22 women lying. Call me a fossil for saying this, but I’m not sure I’ve ever seen 22 women agree on anything.

  15. Why is it suspicious that half of them won’t attend? People have jobs and kids and COVID fears and as Florio says, the hearing is just a status conference. Nothing substantive would happen anyway. They want to make a point and have the time to make it.

    My guess is the “lie” is that Watson did everything they said, but he see it all as consensual while the women felt coerced or victims of his status, power and ability to give them bad references.

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