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Deshaun Watson might have to appear in May depositions after plaintiffs pressure judge

Plaintiffs suing Deshaun Watson pressure judge to force him to appear for depositions in May.

Reem Abdalazem
Update:
Plaintiffs suing Deshaun Watson pressure judge to force him to appear for depositions in May.
Carmen MandatoAFP

The 22 women who are suing Deshaun Watson for sexual misconduct are not having the Cleveland quarterback’s excuses.

The attorney representing these women, Tony Buzbee, filed notice last month asking a Texas judge to force Watson to appear for pretrial depositions this month in Houston, where he played before being traded to the Cleveland Browns

Tony Buzbee vs Rusty Hardin

Watson’s attorney, Rusty Hardin, previously argued that the quarterback ‘s job with Cleveland “requires his presence in Ohio Monday through Friday,” not allowing him to testify in Houston on the presented dates.

On Friday, Buzbee attacked that notion in his motion to pressure Watson’s deposition.

“Defendant’s ‘work’ is throwing a football,” Buzbee stated. “No doubt that is important work, certainly from his point of view. However, such work is not so critical, vital, or crucial that it prevents him from appearing for deposition within this Court’s scheduling order.”

Related: Deshaun Watson facing raft of sexual misconduct lawsuits

Buzbee, who continues to represent all the sexual accusations against the QB that allegedly took place during massage sessions from early 2020 to March 2021, was met with negations from Watson and Hardin, claiming that while there were “sometimes consensual encounters,” these women are lying and are out of money.

Buzbee and plaintiffs’ persistence might force Deshaun Watson’s presence

While two grand juries declined to indict Watson on criminal charges based on 10 complaints, these civil lawsuits might further pressure the judge to force Watson to appear in court as requested by Buzbee.

“Defendant states … that he ‘recently moved out of state and currently lives in Ohio,’ " Buzbee’s filing stated. “That argument is irrelevant and meritless. As the Court is aware, several Plaintiffs in this lawsuit also live out of state, and most live paycheck to paycheck unlike Defendant Watson. Yet, each made themselves available for deposition when asked, taking time off from their full-time jobs, flying into Houston, and, even though they are single mothers, leaving their young children behind. The Plaintiffs did not use living out of state as an excuse to avoid deposition.”

Watson’s legal team persisted that plaintiffs travel to Houston but failed to provide dates

Buzbee also noted that even though some plaintiffs suggested the option of appearing via Zoom to their depositions, Watson’s legal team was persistent that the plaintiffs travel to Houston for these depositions. Meanwhile, they failed to provide alternative dates after being asked eight times for dates to conduct Watson’s deposition.

Buzbee also said that according to the CBA, or collective bargaining agreement between the NFL and its players association, teams are not allowed to schedule more than four workouts a week in the offseason for any player.

Buzbee intentional in having Watson appear for deposition

“Despite what he thinks, Defendant Watson is not above the law nor is he is above the rules,” Buzbee’s filing said. “Defendant Watson must present himself for deposition on dates during the discovery period.”

Finally, Buzbee noted that the first plaintiff, Ashley Solis, would like to try her case in July, even though the earliest the cases might go to trial is after February 2023.

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