Deshaun Watson Plaintiffs Ordered to Attach Names to Lawsuits in Emergency Hearings

Adam WellsApril 9, 2021

Houston Texans quarterback Deshaun Watson walks off the field before an NFL football game against the Tennessee Titans Sunday, Jan. 3, 2021, in Houston. (AP Photo/Eric Christian Smith)
AP Photo/Eric Christian Smith

Several plaintiffs in the lawsuits filed against Houston Texans quarterback Deshaun Watson will be required to refile using their real names. 

Per ESPN's Sarah Barshop, two judges ruled during emergency hearings on Friday that 13 of the women suing Watson have to refile or amend their lawsuits with their real names. 

Barshop added that Rusty Hardin, Watson's lawyer, and Tony Buzbee, who is representing the plaintiffs, have agreed to amend another lawsuit that was set for an emergency hearing at 4 p.m. CT. 

According to Barshop, that leaves eight remaining lawsuits awaiting a ruling on whether or not the plaintiffs must identify themselves. 

Hardin filed motions with the Harris County District Court on Thursday for emergency hearings, asking for each of the women to identify herself in her filing. 

The timetable for the emergency hearings may have been rushed because Hardin noted in those motions that Watson has until April 19 to respond to the lawsuits. 

"The only way to allow Mr. Watson to properly defend himself is for the Court to follow the law by requiring Ms. Doe to identify herself in her civil lawsuit," Hardin said in the motion for an emergency hearing.

Each of the 22 women who filed lawsuits against Watson alleging sexual assault and misconduct used the Jane Doe alias in their original filing. 

According to Barshop, Hardin argued during Friday's hearings that Buzbee was using the women's anonymity to "kill the reputation" of his client.

Earlier this week, two of the plaintiffs in the lawsuits against Watson publicly identified themselves. Ashley Solis addressed the media during a press conference on Tuesday. 

"My name is Ashley Solis. Remember that name. I hope every woman and man out there who is a survivor hears my story. And I hope my story gives them courage to speak out," Solis said.

Another plaintiff, Lauren Baxley, didn't speak publicly but wrote a letter that was read by Cornelia Brandfield-Harvey, one of Buzbee's colleagues. 

"Every boundary, from professional and therapeutic to sexual and degrading, you crossed or attempted to cross," Baxley's letter read. 

Watson has denied the allegations against him after the first lawsuit was filed on March 16. 

In addition to the civil lawsuits facing him, Watson is being investigated by the NFL under the league's personal conduct policy. The Houston Police Department is also investigating a criminal complaint concerning Watson.