Tony Buzbee confirms demand for confidentiality of any Deshaun Watson settlement

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After several weeks of silence in the Deshaun Watson litigation, the lawyers dusted off their back and forth last week, squabbling over the question of which of them made the first move regarding settlement. Regardless of whether Tony Buzbee (for the 22 plaintiffs) or Rusty Hardin (for Watson) broached the issue of settlement first, Hardin made the unrebutted contention that, as to any eventual deal, Hardin and Watson want full transparency and Buzbee and his clients seek confidentiality.

Buzbee never refuted Hardin’s contention. It’s now clear why. Near the bottom of a lengthy item from SI.com that delves into various issues and dynamics relating to the Watson controversy appears confirmation from Buzbee that he and his clients want confidentiality.

“These women have been roundly criticized,” Buzbee told SI.com. “What Rusty wants is to humiliate them and make them targets of unscrupulous people. So any resolution we would want confidential, and it would also require Mr. Watson getting some counseling.”

Usually, the defendant in civil litigation wants — and pays for — confidentiality. It’s rare for the defendant to insist that everything be disclosed. It’s even more rare for the plaintiff to want everything, including the settlement amount, to never be known.

The fact that the two sides haggled over whether the settlement would be treated as confidential also carries a strong implicit message. There’s no reason to fuss over the confidentiality of a settlement if a settlement isn’t on the verge of happening. In other words, the parties quite possibly had a tentative deal as to the amount that Watson would pay each of the 22 plaintiffs before the negotiations went haywire on the issue of confidentiality.

The fact that Buzbee wanted confidentiality also implies that the amounts that Watson tentatively agreed to pay were nothing to brag about.

If so, all of this means that things can get back on track, if the parties can come up with a solution to the confidentiality question. Maybe the compromise entails the amounts being treated as secret, but with the plaintiffs and Watson free to discuss the allegations, defenses, and any other issues relating to the facts.

Regardless, it seems as if Buzbee and Hardin made plenty of progress during their three weeks of public silence. If one side or the other bends, that could break the whole thing wide open.

34 responses to “Tony Buzbee confirms demand for confidentiality of any Deshaun Watson settlement

  1. Like the Robert Kraft case, I see no need for full disclosure. It’s none of our business. Let them settle and move on.

  2. This is looking more and more like an attempt to destroy Watson. I don’t feel bad for him, he was getting hookers off instagram, but i do think the NFL needs to look into the texans owner and this lawyers relationship and if the texans owner had anything to do with this.

  3. Only thing on this mess I’m sure of it’s going to get uglier before this thing is resolved. How much mess before the league opens the trap door under Watson and says you’re bad for the leagues PR go on the exempt list I have no idea. But there’s a point not much further where that happens I think and the leagues metric for that has nothing to do with guilty or not guilty. It’s just if they say we don’t like the smell of this and it’s too much bad PR in their opinion. Which is a little messed up considering the ridiculous latitude they have to stop someone’s career at their sole discretion.

  4. No, it doesn’t mean that the settlement would be huge. It means that Buzzbees 30% wasn’t worth the squeeze and the plaintiffs won’t have enough to hang with the Kardashians and weather the bad press in the aftermath. Just another possibility.

  5. dualprime says:
    May 21, 2021 at 7:52 pm
    Like the Robert Kraft case, I see no need for full disclosure. It’s none of our business. Let them settle and move on.
    ———————————————————————————
    And here you are reading articles and commenting on something you are saying is not your business.

  6. The real question is what Aaron Rodgers is going to leak to make himself the headline again.

  7. A Churchill, or Shaw, or Fields quote springs to mind: “We have established what you are, madam. We are now merely haggling over the price.”

  8. Watson is going to have to decide if Rusty Hardin’s desire, his penchant for publicly tooting his own horn (‘Roger Clemons didn’t do steroids’) is worth putting himself in jeopardy by sitting for deposition. Tricky game to play, with potentially big consequences. The cleaner this is handled, the more options they’ll have for his new team. The longer it goes, the more embarrassing and worse facts will emerge, the more radioactive he becomes.

  9. Many healthcare patients get 2nd opinions on a Doctor’s advise. Deshaun Watson should seek another legal opinion. Watson is the boss not Rusty Hardin! Watson can then make a decision on what legal advise to follow.

  10. Ridiculous to compare Krafts case to this. Consensual transaction with no allegations. Watson alleged accusations. Guilty as hell and needs to settle to save his career and avoid jail time.

  11. If you’re not pursuing criminal charges AND you’re suing someone civilly, then every single thing should be disclosed in a settlement unless both parties agree otherwise. This looks more like a money grab every single day, I don’t care how many defendants there are.

  12. I’ve spent 20 years doing defense work.
    No plaintiff’s guy ever wants confidentiality.
    The fact that this guy does shows that numbers must be extremely low.

  13. Christopher Allan says:
    May 21, 2021 at 8:20 pm
    dualprime says:
    May 21, 2021 at 7:52 pm
    Like the Robert Kraft case, I see no need for full disclosure. It’s none of our business. Let them settle and move on.
    ———————————————————————————
    And here you are reading articles and commenting on something you are saying is not your business.
    ——————————
    Correct! Details of the case are not my business or yours. Commenting on a PFT article is entirely different.

  14. The more obvious reason for confidentiality is to keep their names from being made public.. And from having DeShaun’s fans, etc. from going after them.

  15. This is the business of the NFL. As far as the rest of us; I’m not sure if I need intimate details on the events, but I’m sure interested in the settlement amounts & any violation of law/policy’s that may have occurred.

  16. There are some really bad possible outcomes for Watson, like getting suspended or traded to Washington. Watson’s lawyer needs to settle with these women and make sure they clam up.

  17. If Watson holds firm and insists on full disclosure, I don’t see what the plaintiffs response will be. Their ultimate threat is to move forward with their lawsuits, but I don’t see how they can do that without eventually revealing their identities.

  18. One woman might make something up. 22? Nope. Watson should be out of the league.

  19. The fact that Watson wants transparency and the women don’t definitely makes it seem like Watson is confident about the outcome of a trial, and that the settlement is not very big per person. Sounds like 5 figures each.

  20. What bothers me is Buzbee claims he’s worried about his client’s safety but they are only at risk because of his actions on playing this out for public opinion. Where the integrity?

  21. Chiefs fan in LA says:
    May 22, 2021 at 12:16 am
    i don’t know, if they don’t press criminal charges, why pay…
    ______

    DE pays them a token sum, says that he still believes that what happened was consensual, but that since they don’t agree and wish to be compensated above and beyond what they had previously agreed to as payment for services rendered – as noted in these messages between them – he is more than willing to do so in the hope that this small sum will help them to feel better.

    Plus after all this, all the promise of quick, big money payouts and anonymity, Tony Buzbee will be getting their names published in the papers next to the sums they demanded. It is specifically designed to expose Buzbee as an inept blowhard who bungled what should have easy money in order to try to make himself look important.

  22. Watson obviously has a great PR firm which happens to be run by a lawyer.

  23. This is a full flip on what normally happens. The plaintiffs main leverage is the threat to take things public, heck Buzbee has been threatening that all along. He has been trying to make this as public, yet fact free, spectacle as possible. If this case goes to court, the plaintiffs will have to be named anyway.

    If Watson and his team wants everyone to know what really happened and leave everyone free to talk to the press, police, etc. then I don’t see why he shouldn’t get the benefit of the doubt. If his lawyers get what they want the plaintiffs will get the opportunity to drag his name through the mud, if that is what they want to do and still get their money.

  24. “The real question is what Aaron Rodgers is going to leak to make himself the headline again.”

    Didn’t you know? He’s one of the plaintiffs!

  25. THis sounds more and more like Buzbee and his clients are scamming Watson.

    THe simple fact that Watson and his lawyer want the details made public is evidence that they think they are being scammed…..and they want everyone to know it.

    Watson can force it to be public if he refuses to settle, forcing it to go to court where it will be made public.

  26. “One woman might make something up. 22?”

    So far, it’s just Buzbee that we have heard from. For all we know, Buzbee contacted the women and told them that they could make some quick money by supporting a lawsuit…and they wouldn’t even have to testify.

    I hope it goes to court so that we can eventually learn the truth.

  27. The criminal investigation is ongoing meaning that there is something there.

    Watson desperately wants to settle this and have them agree to be silent as part of the settlement. Buzbee wants to settle before any criminal case starts as Watson could end up spending millions upon millions in a criminal defense.

    If there was nothing there Watson would just wait to be absolved by the criminal investigation since he can’t prevent it at this point.

  28. balt88 says:
    May 22, 2021 at 9:18 pm
    The criminal investigation is ongoing meaning that there is something there.
    If there was nothing there Watson would just wait to be absolved by the criminal investigation since he can’t prevent it at this point.
    —————————————————————————————————————
    The civil and criminal proceedings are independent of one another. Watson could not charged or charged and acquitted in the criminal side but still lose the lawsuit on the civil side. Conversely, Watson could settle quietly on the civil side, but still see the criminal case can still proceed.

  29. Considering Buzbee has been trying the case in public, his demand for confidentiality is rather ironic.

  30. radar8 says:
    May 22, 2021 at 12:48 pm
    “One woman might make something up. 22?”

    So far, it’s just Buzbee that we have heard from. For all we know, Buzbee contacted the women and told them that they could make some quick money by supporting a lawsuit…and they wouldn’t even have to testify.

    I hope it goes to court so that we can eventually learn the truth.

    ====================================================================================

    There was a very in depth article done by SI recently which is pretty damning. It has a lot of information that hasn’t been public before.

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