Last year, Deshaun Watson was ready to pay each of 22 plaintiffs who had sued him for sexual misconduct during massage therapy sessions $100,000 in order to resolve the pending lawsuits. All but four were ready to end the process. Watson declined to settle with fewer than all of the plaintiffs, however.
Watson, who just last week strongly suggested he would not settle the cases, has reached an agreement with all but four of the now-24 plaintiffs.
So if he was willing to pay $100,000 then (and if all but four of the plaintiffs were willing to take it), how much will he pay to resolve the cases?
As attorney Tony Buzbee said in the statement announcing the settlements, the amounts of the payments are confidential. That’s an extremely common term in cases of this nature, and it’s almost always included at the behest of the person writing the checks. (Strangely, settlement talks in April 2021 cratered because the plaintiffs wanted confidentiality language and Watson’s camp did not.)
When there’s only one plaintiff, it’s far more likely that the secret will be kept. With 20 of them getting settlements, it becomes much harder to ensure that someone doesn’t blab.
All it takes is one to speak anonymously to a reporter. Just one. And each of the 20 can then say, “It wasn’t me,” making it impossible for Watson’s lawyers to attempt to pursue available remedies, which in many cases include repayment of the full amount of the settlement.
Prediction: Someone eventually will blab. It may not happen before the money changes hands. Inevitably, someone will talk to someone who will report it.