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Attorney Annisah Nguyen: There are more Deshaun Watson victims “who have yet to come forward”

Mike Florio and Peter King discuss the latest allegation against Deshaun Watson, as the Browns QB faces his 26th lawsuit while serving an 11-game suspension.

For the first time since more than 20 civil lawsuits alleging sexual misconduct during massage-therapy sessions were filed against Browns quarterback Deshaun Watson, an attorney other than Tony Buzbee has filed the paperwork on behalf of the plaintiff. Attorney Anissah Nguyen, who represents the plaintiff who filed suit on Thursday, suggests that more lawsuits could be coming.

“My client’s experience with Deshaun Watson follows a series of disturbingly similar encounters reported by more than 20 women who have filed suit against the NFL superstar,” Nguyen wrote in an email to Mary Kay Cabot of the Cleveland Plainer Dealer. “Like so many others, my client spent nearly two years struggling to cope with trauma from all that he stole from her, and the daily pain that has become her reality.

“Knowing her story will bring on the hard conversations, criticism and even victim-blaming, the strength and bravery of these other women gave my client the courage to stand up and speak out. She seeks justice not only for herself and her own healing, but for the more than 20 women who refused to be shamed into silence, and the victims who have yet to come forward.”

Watson has settled the vast majority of the cases filed against him. One of the original cases remains unresolved. Currently, there are two. Apparently, more could be coming.

As to the newest case, Nyugen said that she will seek to take sworn deposition testimony from Watson before the end of the year. She can try, but it likely won’t happen.

For starters, Watson will have roughly a month after formal service of the summons and complaint to respond to the lawsuit. That takes the timeline to the middle of November. Nguyen can file, if she wants, a notice of Watson’s deposition for a specific date between the middle of November and December 31, if she wants. But if Watson’s lawyers and/or Watson isn’t available to be questioned before the end of the year, that makes a deposition far less likely to happen by then.

If Nguyen refuses to relent, Watson’s lawyers would have to file a motion to prevent the deposition from proceeding. Lawyers usually tread lightly when it comes to cluttering a court’s docket with issues that the lawyers arguably should work out among themselves. In this case, a judge could conclude that it’s not reasonable to expect to force Watson’s testimony so soon.

Relatively soon, the practical deadline is coming for more lawsuits. With a two-year statute of limitations likely applying to most if not all of the cases, the latest date for filing will be the two-year anniversary of the last incident. Assuming Watson decided to stop doing whatever he allegedly or actually was doing once he was sued for it in the middle of March in 2021, the last case would be filed no later than the middle of March in 2023.