Cleveland Browns quarterback Deshaun Watson has reached settlements with 20 of the 24 women who filed lawsuits accusing him of sexual misconduct during massage sessions in 2020 and early 2021, USA Today reports. The settlements come nearly 15 months after most of the suits were filed back in 2021.
Tony Buzbee, the plaintiffs' attorney, released a statement addressing the settlements.
“Today I announce that all cases against Deshaun Watson, with the exception of four, have settled,” Buzbee said. “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.”
Buzbee did not disclose any details about the settlements.
With 20 of the cases settled, Watson can now avoid litigation and hours of deposition testimony that were scheduled for him this week. Back in March, the Cleveland Browns signed Watson to a 5-year 230 million guaranteed contract after landing him in a blockbuster trade with the Houston Texans.
While Watson has settled with a majority of his accusers, it still remains to be seen what disciplinary actions NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell will hand down for the quarterback’s violation of the league’s code of conduct policy.
Ashley Solis, who’s a plaintiff in one of the unsettled cases, is proceeding with her case.
“The cases against Deshaun Watson started with one phone call, from one brave and strong woman,” Buzbee stated. “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, my 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 'asset,' I was convinced that our law firm should try to help her."
Watson has repeatedly denied all accusations levied against him.