On the floor, the choice of the Houston Texans to settle with one girl who had sued the crew over former quarterback Deshaun Watson‘s alleged misconduct and with 29 others who had not yet sued has no impact on Watson. The claims against him — four still pending and, based on the Houston settlement, up to six who could still sue him — are not affected. At a deeper level, there are pros and cons to Houston settling.
The good news is that, if/when the cases against the Texans go to trial, Watson won’t get dragged into that litigation as a witness. He would have been probably questioned below oath prematurely of every trial (within the type of a deposition), and he undoubtedly would have been known as to testify at every and each trial. Even if he had settled the entire instances pending towards him by then, he would have confronted robust questioning from lawyer Tony Buzbee and presumably from the crew’s lawyer, primarily based on the particular protection(s) developed and asserted earlier than a jury. The crew may have tried to indicate that Watson did nothing improper and, in flip, the crew did nothing improper. The crew alternatively may have tried guilty all of it on Watson, that he’s the one who ought to have been pursued for compensation for any wrongdoing.
Along those self same traces, the settlement avoids what would have been a really awkward dynamic. If the instances towards the Texans would have been filed immediately towards the crew and not added to the present instances (that’s how the primary one was offered), the Texans would have probably added Watson to the instances as a third-party defendant when formally responding to every lawsuit, arguing that Watson is accountable for any alleged hurt suffered, not the crew. The headline simply may have been, “Texans sue Deshaun Watson.” The settlements by the Texans keep away from this procedural complication.
The unhealthy information is that, for the 4 pending instances and the six potential extra ones, the settlements will assist fund the continuing litigation. Although the quantity isn’t identified and could by no means be, any quantity paid to the ladies nonetheless suing or who can be suing Watson can be utilized to assist pay the bills within the 4 instances nonetheless pending towards him. It additionally may embolden those that have refused settlement provides to carry much more agency of their positions, and to insist on having a public trial.
On that time, Watson and his attorneys could also be entitled to study throughout the confines of the pending instances the quantities paid by the Texans. The Texans and Buzbee certainly would combat any such effort. Watson, by his attorneys, could argue that the data could possibly be related to the remaining litigation, and thus is honest recreation for the invention course of. If the settlements are low, the potential argument could be that it reveals the instances are weak. If the settlements are excessive, Watson may attempt to get credit score dollar-for-dollar credit score towards any verdict entered towards him. Again, the crew and Buzbee would certainly combat any such try to introduce the settlement quantities in open courtroom.
It’s nonetheless a two-edged sword for Watson. The extra the Texans pay, the extra it seems that there was a cause to pay. That the Texans had identified about Watson’s alleged wrongdoing and didn’t cease it. That Watson had certainly engaged in wrongdoing.
Regardless, the underside line is that the state of affairs, which was on the verge of turning into hopelessly difficult with as much as 30 contemporary lawsuits towards the Texans, has develop into streamlined. From the NFL’s perspective, that’s excellent news. It ensures that, as soon as the remaining instances towards Watson finish, this protracted distraction will lastly be over.