After Tuesday’s press conference, Rusty Hardin, an attorney representing Watson, took aim at Buzbee and Solis’ claims. Hardin published a series of emails suggesting that Buzbee “sought $ 100,000 in secret money on behalf of Ms. Solís to quietly resolve the allegations a month before filing the first lawsuit.” All of the accusers, according to the lawsuits, have filed claims seeking “minimal compensatory damages.”
In a February email, Scott Gaffield, general counsel for Athletes First, the agency representing Watson, dismissed Buzbee’s lawsuit on Solís’s behalf for $ 100,000 because “we do not believe that the alleged facts show that Deshaun did anything wrong. .. “
In addition to the 22 civil lawsuits, the case against Watson was expanded last week when the Houston Police Department acknowledged that it had begun investigating Watson after a complaint was filed against him. Buzbee said Tuesday that at least one other person had also filed a complaint against Watson with police. It is unclear if either person is also a plaintiff in the lawsuits filed against Watson in Harris County, Texas.
While nearly two dozen claims have been filed against Watson in less than a month, the legal machinations are just beginning. The cases are now assigned to multiple judges for review, but it is unclear when or if they will be consolidated, something that would expedite decisions on the anonymity of the prosecutors, any motions to dismiss, possible discovery, and a myriad of other steps that could lead to trial.
Other factors may shape the contours of the case, including any potential developments in the police and NFL investigations, which began its own investigation and may suspend Watson while it investigates the allegations against him. Although the allegations have accumulated in a short period of time, legal proceedings are in very early stages, according to Stephanie Stradley, a Houston attorney who writes frequently on legal matters related to the Texans and the NFL.
“If you were making an analogy to soccer, the ball has been kicked and people are running across the field, but no one has caught the ball yet,” he said. “These cases are difficult enough as they are when the world is not looking. It can be a bit messy sorting out the full facts. “