HOUSTON — At an emergency hearing Friday morning, a Harris County judge ruled that one of the plaintiffs suing Texans quarterback Deshaun Watson must identify herself by refiling her lawsuit with her name attached.
The original lawsuit, filed by Houston attorney Tony Buzbee, was filed on behalf of Jane Doe. Of the 22 lawsuits filed against Watson alleging sexual assault and inappropriate conduct, only two women had been publicly identified.
The ruling was made by Judge Dedra Davis in the 270th District Court. A similar hearing regarding at least 12 other cases is set for noon ET Friday in the 113th District Court, according to court records.
Watson’s attorney, Rusty Hardin, filed the emergency motion Thursday, saying, “Mr. Buzbee’s use of anonymous lawsuits violates Texas law and the basic concept of fairness.”
“While I understand that anonymity often is used as a shield for victims, Mr. Buzbee is using it as a sword,” Hardin said in a statement. “While shielding his clients from public scrutiny, Mr. Buzbee continues to use their anonymous allegations to destroy Mr. Watson. This is simply not right. And we look forward to resolving these matters in court.”
Watson has denied the allegations in the lawsuits.
In a statement Tuesday, NFL spokesperson Brian McCarthy called the allegations against Watson “deeply disturbing,” noting, “We take these issues very seriously.”
McCarthy said the league launched an investigation under its personal conduct policy last month after the first allegations and that the NFL is “continuing to closely monitor all developments in the matter.”