Deshaun Watson’s attorneys filed emergency motions Thursday asking judges to hear the quarterback’s argument that keeping Jane Doe’s name anonymous is unlawful.
In the ones that have been heard, the judge has agreed with Watson’s camp and given opposing counsel Tony Buzbee two days to release information that was granted in the motion — Jane Doe, in some original lawsuits will be amended with the accuser’s name.
In the “Special Exemptions” filed by the office of Deshaun Watson’s attorney, the motion states that the attorney for the 22 women accusing Watson is asking the public to be the judge and jury.
In a response to one of the lawsuits involving Ashley Solis, Buzbee filed a document in which he called Hardin’s method ” nothing more than an intimidation tactic.”
“Plaintiffs filed these lawsuits anonymously using pseudonyms as is their right,” Buzbee said. “They did so to protect their privacy and safety and to protect themselves from further revictimization, trauma and humiliation that so often accompanies an assault and sexual assault, which is already occurring online and elsewhere.”
In his response to one of the motions, Buzbee states, “[T]hese victims’ privacy rights outweigh the presumption of openness.”
OutKick reached out to Buzbee by email early Thursday afternoon for comment in response to Hardin’s filings. He has not yet returned OutKick’s requests for comment.
In an email to OutKick after the documents were filed on Thursday, Hardin released the following statement:
“Mr. Buzbee is intent on conducting discovery by Facebook and trial by press conference. He is asking the public to act as judge and jury without ever allowing Mr. Watson to responsibly respond. Because Plaintiff’s counsel filed the actions anonymously, Mr. Watson’s counsel can only speculate about Plaintiff’s identity, the motion reads. “Yet, it would be wildly irresponsible for Mr. Watson or his defense team to publicly speculate about it. The risk of being wrong is simply too high.”
Watson’s attorneys argued in the motion that for him to have a fair “chance at properly defending himself,” they must request that the Court mandate that Plaintiff identify herself, as required by the law.
Hardin and his staff repeatedly explain in the motion that Watson cannot defend himself against an accusation made by an anonymous individual, and that Buzbee has attempted to gain an advantage through the media.
“Due to plaintiff’s counsel’s repeated refusals to identify for Mr. Watson’s counsel the real name of Ms. Doe, Mr. Watson’s counsel cannot fully evaluate or plead his defenses,” the motion reads.
Hardin’s office argues that Texas law is clear and that this has been determined in the courts.
The motion states that Buzbee violated Texan civil procedures when he didn’t name Jane Doe in the original petition, which prevents Watson’s camp from preparing for the lawsuit.
Hardin’s office notes that there is an exception involving allegations of sexual abuse of minors in civil lawsuits, but said in the motion that Buzbee didn’t seek the accommodations — a protective order.
The motion states that Buzbee did not seek the accommodations and that only minors can use a pseudonym.
“To the extent Ms. Doe claims that the nature of her allegations gives rise to the need for anonymity, the Texas Legislature has addressed the issue and recognized only a very limited exception to Rule 79’s requirement that a civil petition state the plaintiff’s
real name,” the record reads.
Buzbee said in his response that Watson’s team wants “to further traumatize, humiliate and embarrass brave women who have come forward to seek justice for their assault, sexual assault, and harassment at the hands of a serial predator.”
“Contrary to Defendant’s misleading argument, Texas law and the Fifth Circuit permit Plaintiff to proceed under a pseudonym in her civil case when the case is of a highly sensitive and personal nature such as human sexuality, assault, sexual harassment and sexual abuse,” Buzbee wrote in his response.
This is a developing story. Check back with OutKick for updates.