Deshaun Watson was traded last month from Houston to Cleveland and his legal issues aren’t suddenly going away even though two grand juries decided to not bring criminal charges against him.
He has been accused by 22 women of sexual misconduct during therapy sessions, many of which he arranged by contacting the therapists on social media in 2020 and 2021.
The latest report from USA Today says two of the women who are suing him amended their lawsuits to add claims of negligence and gross negligence, arguing that Watson knew of his own sexual proclivities in massage sessions but failed to take precautions to prevent a reoccurrence of them.
Via the report:
“By adding these new causes of action, they potentially widen the net of discoverable evidence they can obtain before trial and also add another way to recover damages in their lawsuits. They are among 22 women who have sued Watson and accused him of sexual misconduct during massage sessions in 2020 and early 2021.
“Adding the new negligence claims ‘permits the plaintiffs to widen the scope of discovery,’ said Kenneth Williams, professor at South Texas College of Law Houston. ‘They will be able to ask any questions or seek information such as texts related to those claims. Second, it provides plaintiffs another basis for recovery (of damages). Third, if plaintiffs prevail on the gross negligence claims they can be awarded punitive damages, which are damages designed to punish the wrongdoer for his/her extreme conduct.’”
The attorney for the 22 women, Tony Buzbee, told the publication that more lawsuits will be adding causes of action for negligence and gross negligence.
“Deshaun Watson has denied he acted intentionally; we believe strongly that we will prove he did,” Buzbee said. “We have also added a claim for negligence allowing a jury to assess liability for unreasonable and imprudent conduct as well. This claim is just another through which the jury can assess liability and damages against him. We will likely add this claim for most of the cases, although perhaps not all.”
In the meantime, Watson must say whether he had sex with 18 massage therapists who supported him last year following criminal complaints and lawsuits from other women, a judge in Texas ruled earlier this week.
Watson also has to provide other information about his massage history since 2019, including any language in his contract with the Texans about massages.
After his trade from Houston, the Browns agreed to give him a record-setting contract of $230 million guaranteed for five years.