The lawyers in the Deshaun Watson lawsuits can’t agree on which of them made the first move regarding a potential settlement.
In response to the claim from Watson’s lawyer, Rusty Hardin, that attorney Tony Buzbee initiated the process (repeatedly) of trying to resolve the 22 cases filed by his clients, Buszbee returned to social media to respond.
“Not that many care about it anymore,” Buzbee said on Instagram. “But there is a thing called ‘justice.’ And we will find it. Contrary to what Mr. Rusty says, we haven’t ‘approached them to settle,’ ever. When they approached us they insisted we sign this. We obviously didn’t reach out to them; they begged us via the Texans to mediate. We hold the cards. The truth sometimes or most of the time hurts!!!! We approached them?!? My ass.”
Buzbee made his comments next to an image of the first page of a non-disclosure agreement regarding a mediation process, which presumably occurred. Hardin, in his Thursday statement, indicated that Buzbee has sought confidentiality as to any settlements, and that Hardin and Watson want the information regarding any resolution of the claims to be made public. Buzbee seems to be claiming that it was Hardin, not Buzbee, who asked for confidentiality.
However, it’s one thing to seek confidentiality as to the things said and exchanged during the effort to settle the case, and it’s quite another to seek confidentiality as to the terms of the eventual settlement. It’s possible that Hardin would want secrecy as to the talks, but no secrecy as to the result.
Where it goes from here remains to be seen. Now that Hardin has made his point, the cases in theory could be settled with confidentiality but with the perception that Watson didn’t pay very much. Otherwise, Hardin and Watson wouldn’t have wanted the agreement to not include a confidentiality provision.