Two women on trial for NFL defender Deschana Watson have amended their lawsuits this week, adding allegations of negligence and gross negligence, claiming Watson knew about his own sexual tendencies during the massage but failed to take precautions to prevent their recurrence. .
By adding these new grounds for action, they potentially expand the network of evidence they can obtain before the court, and add another way to recover damages in their lawsuits. They are among 22 women who have sued Watson and accused him of sexual abuse during massage sessions in 2020 and early 2021.
A lawyer for the 22 women, Tony Busby, told USA TODAY Sports on Thursday that the new lawsuits would add grounds for violations for negligence and gross negligence.
“Dashon Watson denies acting intentionally; we firmly believe we can prove it,” Busby said. “We have also added a negligence lawsuit, which allows the jury to also assess liability for unjustified and reckless conduct. This lawsuit is another through which the jury can assess liability and damages against it. We will probably add this claim to most cases. , although perhaps not all.
JUDICIAL HEARING:The judge ruled that Dashon Watson should answer for any history of sex with other therapists
Almost all lawsuits otherwise have claims of civil assault and emotional suffering against Watson. Two more have claims of sexual assault.
Adding new claims of negligence “allows plaintiffs to expand their scope of detection,” said Kenneth Williams, a professor at the South Texas College of Law in Houston. “They will be able to ask any questions or search for information, such as texts related to these claims. Second, it gives the plaintiffs another ground for recovery (damages). Third, if plaintiffs predominate in allegations of gross negligence, they may be awarded damages, which are damages intended to punish the offender for his / her extraordinary conduct. ”
The 22 civil cases are completely separate from the criminal proceedings of the Grand Jury, which recently refused to charge Watson with charges in 10 cases filed with police.
The lawsuits continue in court in Houston, including on Tuesday, when the lawyer of two women with new requirements for negligence tried to use them to his advantage in a dispute over evidence of pre-trial detection. The question was whether to force Watson to list all the women who have done him massages since 2019, except those already documented.
“In fact, we have claimed negligence and gross negligence,” said Cornelia Brandfield-Harvey, a lawyer for the plaintiffs, at a hearing that was shown online. “It shows that he noticed about his sexual inclinations, and he went there knowing he tended to act inadequately with masseurs.”
Watson’s lawyer, Leah Graham, objected to the request, saying the information was too extensive and irrelevant to the allegations of an individual plaintiff.
But Judge Rabia Sultan Collier dismissed the objection in favor of the plaintiffs, forcing Watson to give the story of the women who massaged him.
The 26-year-old Watson denies wrongdoing and was recently transferred from Houston to the Cleveland Browns, a team that has agreed to give him a record $ 230 million contract with a five-year warranty. His lawyer, Rusty Hardin, said the women were lying, looking for money, and “sometimes there were meetings by arrangement.” But the NFL may still reject it based on its own investigation.
Two women who added negligence claims to their lawsuit last year agreed to speak publicly on behalf of accusing Watson of misconduct: Ashley Solis and Lauren Baxley, both masseuses. Watson is said to have exposed himself and forced his genitals to be touched during massage sessions in March and June 2020.
New statements of negligence said they believed Watson’s behavior was intentional, but Watson denies acting intentionally.
“Thus, as an alternative, Plaintiff alleges that Watson’s conduct was unreasonable and therefore negligent and grossly negligent,” the lawsuit says. “Defendant Watson is required by the plaintiff to exercise reasonable care.”
They said Watson violated that duty in several ways, including “planning a massage to be alone with the plaintiff, knowing about his own sexual inclinations,” and “failing to take precautions before the massage to prevent a recurrence of his previously known behavior.” in relation to masseurs ”.
They said he also did not warn them about “his inclinations and past behavior.”
Lawyers for the plaintiffs are trying to establish the regularity of his behavior in the pre-trial autopsy. “When he did it with other masseurs, it shows his motive,” Brandfield-Harvey told the court on Tuesday.
Watson also has to answer whether he had sex with 18 therapists who defended him last year after filing a lawsuit, according to a ruling by the same judge.
Both sides have agreed not to schedule trials in these cases from August 1 to March 1, 2023, which helps Watson avoid them during the football season. This means that they cannot be resolved until 2023 if they are not resolved before that out of court.
Follow reporter Brent Schrotenburg @Schrotenboer. Email: email@example.com