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Dak Prescott’s decision to sue for extortion might have opened door for sexual assault claim

Sometimes, it pays to take an aggressive and proactive approach to the court system. Sometimes, it backfires.

For Cowboys quarterback Dak Prescott, it might have backfired.

Earlier this year, Prescott received a demand letter from lawyers who represent a woman who accuses Prescott of sexual assault. The alleged incident happened in February 2017. The biggest problem regarding a potential civil lawsuit alleging sexual assault against Prescott came from the applicable statute of limitations.

Put simply, it was too late for the alleged victim to sue Prescott for sexual assault.

Prescott and his lawyers reacted to the demand letter, which sought payment of $100 million, by suing the alleged victim and her lawyers for extortion. And, under Texas law, that apparently opened the door for Prescott to be sued for alleged sexual assault.

The answer appears in Texas Civil Practice and Remedies Code. Section 16.069. Here’s the language of it: “If a counterclaim or cross claim arises out of the same transaction or occurrence that is the basis of an action, a party to the action may file the counterclaim or cross claim even though as a separate action it would be barred by limitation on the date the party’s answer is required.”

Prescott’s alleged victim did indeed file a counterclaim against Prescott. The counterclaim alleges defamation, intentional infliction of emotional distress, sexual assault, assault, and false imprisonment.

The counterclaim itself has few details. This is the full extent of the allegations regarding sexual assault: "[Prescott] is liable for sexual assault due to him intentionally or knowingly causing the penetration of the sexual organ of Counter Plaintiff without her consent.”

Prescott’s primary defense is and will be that sexual assault didn’t happen. However, if he hadn’t sued first, he wouldn’t have to deal with that claim at all.

For now, Prescott’s lawyers likely will try to argue that the sexual assault does not “arise out of the same transaction or occurrence that is the basis of an action,” since the lawsuit arises not from the sexual assault but from the alleged effort to extort Prescott. I haven’t researched the issue (that’s a lawyer’s way of saying “I don’t know”), but there surely will be a fight over whether the extortion lawsuit does indeed open the door to the sexual assault claim.