Cleveland Browns quarterback Deshaun Watson’s legal issues aren’t over. He still faces four ongoing civil lawsuits in Texas, including from his first accuser, Ashley Solis, who has recently filed new court documents. The former Houston Texans star will settle 20 of the 24 lawsuits he was facing, according to Tony Buzbee, the attorney representing his accusers. The Solis case, filed in Harris County, could head to trial.
Buzbee recently filed an updated civil petition in Harris County court on behalf of Solis, a Houston-based licensed massage therapist who has spoken out publicly about her accusations against Watson, including on HBO’s “Real Sports.” Three other women are also continuing to pursue their cases against the quarterback, but Buzbee did not reveal who those women are in his statement announcing the settlements. The new document in the Solis case, which can be read here, was filed June 16, 2022.
Buzbee said in his statement, “Today I announce that all cases against Deshaun Watson, with the exception of four, have settled. We are working through the paperwork related to those settlements. Once we have done so, those particular cases will be dismissed. The terms and amounts of the settlements are confidential. We won’t comment further on the settlements or those cases.”
Rusty Hardin, the attorney representing Watson, who has maintained his innocence and who was not charged criminally by two Texas grand juries, in Harris County and Brazoria County, has not commented about the lawsuit settlements. He is continuing to represent Watson in the Solis case.
The NFL’s investigation into Watson is ongoing and no disciplinary action against him has been announced. According to ESPN’s Adam Schefter, NFL spokesman Brian McCarthy said the settlements have “no impact on the collectively bargained disciplinary process.”
Buzbee Said Solis Is ‘One of the Heroes of This Story’
Buzbee said in his statement, “The cases against Deshaun Watson started with one phone call, from one brave and strong woman. That woman was Ashley Solis. At the time of that call she was just one of the hundreds of calls seeking legal assistance that our firm gets weekly. Even though she was originally turned away by our screening process, y staff insisted that I personally speak with her. I’m glad she persisted. Once we took a second look, and after having contact with Watson’s original lawyer who disrespected Ashley and her profession and who arrogantly minimized the conduct of someone he referred to as an ‘assest,’ I was convince that our law firm should try to help her.”
Buzbee added, “As a result of Ashley’s lone but brave voice, soon many women who had allegedly experienced the same conduct were emboldened to step forward. I am incredibly proud to represent them all. They have endured vile criticism and fanatical ignorance. They faced withering cross examination by skilled litigators and stood firm. They are warriors all. Today we have an important announcement about these cases, but it is important to point out that, without Ashley Solis, the conduct experienced by these women would likely have continued unfettered.
He continued, “The truth is, without her courage and willingness to come forward, the NFL wouldn’t currently be contemplating discipline; there would be no examination of how teams might knowingly or unknowingly enable certain behavior; sports teams wouldn’t be reviewing their personnel screen processes; and this important story wouldn’t have dominated the sports headlines for more than a year.”
There Are No Upcoming Court Hearings Set for the Solis Case, Records Show
There are no upcoming court hearings scheduled in Harris County court in the Solis case against Watson and the timeline of when a trial could take place was not immediately clear. Buzbee said in his statement, “As stated, Ashley Solis is one of the heroes of this story. Her case has not settled and thus her story and that of the other three brave women will continue. I look forward to trying these cases in due course, consistent with other docket obligations and the court’s schedule.”
The most recent hearing in the case, on a motion, was held on January 18, 2022. Buzbee filed a third amended petition on June 16, court records show. It was not immediately clear why the new petition was filed. Solis is demanding a jury trial. She is seeking “minimal compensatory damages … to prevent Watson from further like conduct.”
Solis’ attorneys said in court documents she has “suffered mental anguish as a result of Watson’s behavior. Even though she was always professional with Watson, as she has been with every client, she at times blames herself.” The attorneys said Solis has “suffered from panic attacks … depression and anxiety,” and has “difficulty sleeping.”