Deshaun Watson, the attorney representing 22 women suing the Houston Texans quarterback, says settlement talks fell apart before the NFL's trade deadline due to language Watson's legal team demanded they include in nondisclosure agreement.
"In what was submitted, there were nodisclosure agreements. Many of the women pushed back against those," attorney Tony Buzbee stated to Houston television station Fox 26 Tuesday evening.
Buzbee stated that he and his coworkers modified the language of the proposed nondisclosure agreements "substantially", but added that "there were still some females who said, "I'm not going to sign that."
Buzbee stated to Fox 26 that NDAs had been a "deal-breaker" in the settlement efforts.
Buzbee's interview marks the first confirmation by either of the legal teams in Watson's civil cases of a period for mediation.
Buzbee stated, "Now that the heat has subsided I probably won’t be receiving calls from the other party wanting to settle the matter," referring to the pressure involved with settling lawsuits before the NFL's Tuesday trading deadline.
Rusty Hardin Watson's lawyer did not respond to ESPN’s request for comment on the settlement talks. Hardin informed ESPN in July that Watson would not agree to a settlement that contained a confidentiality agreement. He said that he did not want anyone to claim that Watson had paid off women to keep quiet.
Buzbee also stated in an interview with Fox 26 that Watson's group appeared to be willing to settle some of the 22 civil cases.
"First, it was, "We need to settle 22 cases", then it was, "Well, maybe 20 cases can be settled," and finally there was discussion about maybe even less," Buzbee stated. He added: "But, based on terms submitted to us, it wasn't going to happen. Period."
Watson is the defendant of 22 civil cases brought by women from four states. These lawsuits claim Watson sexually assaulted and behaved inappropriately during massage sessions. Watson has been accused of sexual assault by at least 10 women. A criminal investigation is ongoing.
Buzbee stated Tuesday that "from my point of view I'm looking forwardto taking Mr. Watson’s testimony in February."
Buzbee stated that they would prepare the cases for trial. "People can comment and give their opinions but the final opinion that matters are twelve people who sit on a Harris County jury." You know, all these keyboard warriors and so-called experts who claim to know everything about what happened in those rooms are wrong. These women and I both know, and the time is on our side. We will prepare the case, and then we'll try it."