HOUSTON – KPRC 2 has learned that all 22 civil lawsuits filed against Houston Texans quarterback Deshaun Watson have been consolidated and for pre-trial discovery will go in front of one judge.
“I think it’s a critical first step in a journey of a thousand miles that will ultimately result in my estimation in the bulk of these cases being settled,” said KPRC 2 Legal Analyst Brian Wice. “This is a step that benefits both sides. Neither side has to engage in hand to hand combat over 14 or 15 different venues.”
Since mid-March, more than two dozen massage therapists have accused Watson of sexual misconduct during their sessions with him.
In most cases, the women claim that the 25-year-old contacted them via Instagram to set up a massage, but during the massage, he wanted more.
Attorney Tony Buzbee says he is representing all of the women and filed all their lawsuits under the name “Jane Doe.” Last week, Buzbee released the names of two of the women during a news conference, in which one of Watson’s accusers spoke to a room full of reporters.
With the cases now being consolidated, Buzbee will likely need to release the names of all of Watson’s accusers.
“In the not too distant future, perhaps as early as Wednesday, we are going to see the cavalcade if you will of these almost two dozen complainants,” Wice said.
Watson’s attorney, Rusty Hardin, admitted during a news conference Friday, that there may have been consensual relations between Watson and some of the therapists, but Watson did not force any woman to do anything they didn’t want to do.
Buzbee told KPRC 2 Monday that he plans to amend the lawsuits to include the names.
“No one is backing out just because they are disclosing their names. I’ve said all along that we had intended to do so at some point. Ultimately when the cases are tried it will be in open court. No one is hiding,” Buzbee said.
Buzbee has until Friday to release the names.
The NFL and the Houston Police Department are also investigating the allegations against Deshaun Watson.