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When will the lawsuits be filed against Washington?

In an unexpected move, Daniel Snyder decided to create a Twitter account, which could be another sign that he's turning over a new leaf.

With 40 former employees, and possibly counting, claiming that they experienced sexual harassment while working for the Washington Football Team, an important question arises: When will one or more current or former employees file a civil lawsuit against the team?

It’s undoubtedly coming. The presence of one specific name in Wednesday’s Washington Post article virtually guarantees it: Gloria Allred.

Allred, an accomplished litigator, issued this statement from Brittni Abell, a former Washington cheerleader who appeared in the “good bits” 2010 calendar shoot outtakes video that allegedly was prepared at the request of former team executive Larry Michael for, allegedly, owner Daniel Snyder: “If these allegations are true, the use of my image in such an inappropriate manner, without my knowledge or consent, is reprehensible and appalling.”

And, in other words, it is something that can be (and should be) remedied by an appropriate award of compensatory and punitive damages.

Even though the video was created a decade ago, Allred would (will) argue that the statute of limitations begins to run from the moment Abell became aware of the existence of the video.

Some already may have signed settlement agreements; Wednesday’s report from the Post explains that 25 additional former female employees have come forward to claim sexual harassment, but that they chose not to identify themselves, either because of fear of reprisal or nondisclosure agreements, which often appear in a formal settlement agreement.

Most of the original 15 former employees who claimed sexual harassment through last month’s Post article regarding the team also cited the existence of nondisclosure agreements. Here’s what isn’t currently known, but which the NFL should demand to know, ideally through a truly independent investigation: How many of these settlement agreements containing nondisclosure provisions were executed in the normal course of business when someone leaves the team’s employment, and how many arose from a specific effort to resolve known, specific allegations of sexual harassment or other wrongdoing?

That needs to be a central part of the investigation, because it goes to the question of whether Snyder knew or should have known that he presided over an organization with a toxic culture. If the NFL were conducting a truly independent investigation, it would be. With the team investigating itself, it’s an issue that could get lost in the shuffle.

The lawsuits, if/when there are any, won’t get lost in the shuffle. With the NFL refusing to independently investigate the situation, litigation filed by one or more former employees may be the only way to get to the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth.