June 3, 2023

A Florida choose dominated late Wednesday that the ex-girlfriend of Tiger Woods should abide by a nondisclosure settlement she purportedly signed and resolve her lawsuits in search of hundreds of thousands from the golf famous person by non-public arbitration behind closed doorways.

Circuit Choose Elizabeth Metzger, in an 11-page opinion, rejected Erica Herman’s try to quash the 2017 settlement by saying Woods had dedicated sexual harassment towards her, calling Herman’s allegations “obscure and threadbare.”

“Herman has had the chance (to) present factual specificity for any declare regarding sexual assault or sexual harassment, nonetheless, she has not executed so,” Metzger wrote.

Metzger additionally stated that the proof reveals {that a} nondisclosure settlement was negotiated between Herman and Woods in 2017, even when her lawyer, Benjamin Hodas, now questions whether or not she truly signed it.

At a Could 9 listening to, Hodas conceded that Herman signed an settlement, however he stated she doesn’t bear in mind ever seeing the one Woods’ attorneys introduced to the courtroom.

Metzger stated that if Herman unequivocally denied signing the settlement, she would have ordered a listening to on that challenge. However since Herman isn’t positive if she signed it or not, that may be a query for the arbitrator to determine.

Nether Hodas nor Woods’ lawyer, J.B. Murray, instantly responded to late Wednesday emails in search of remark. It’s unknown of Hodas will enchantment.

Herman, 39, had sued each Woods, 47, and the belief that owns his $54 million Florida mansion, in search of $30 million from the latter amid unspecified allegations of sexual harassment. Forbes Journal estimates Woods’ internet price at $1.1 billion.

Herman, who managed Woods’ Palm Seashore County restaurant earlier than and throughout the first years of their romantic relationship, argues that the nondisclosure settlement is unenforceable underneath a brand new federal regulation that claims such contracts could be voided when sexual abuse or sexual harassment occurred.

She alleged in courtroom paperwork that Woods threatened to fireside her if she didn’t signal a nondisclosure settlement. Hodas argued that may be a sort of harassment, treating one worker totally different than others as a result of they’ve a sexual relationship.

However the sexual harassment allegation was barely talked about throughout final week’s listening to. Metzger instructed Hodas she wanted extra details about what allegedly occurred to contemplate it. Hodas stated he couldn’t present extra info publicly in concern that he could be violating the nondisclosure settlement whether it is in the end upheld.

Murray has known as the allegation “completely meritless.”

In Herman’s lawsuit towards Woods, she requested Metzger to both void the nondisclosure settlement or a minimum of give her steering about what she will be able to say publicly. She additionally argued that the contract covers solely her work relationship with Woods, not their private issues.

In her unlawful-eviction lawsuit towards the belief, she is basing her $30 million declare on how a lot it might value to lease a property like Woods’ beachfront mansion north of Palm Seashore for the six years of residence she was allegedly promised by the golfer after which denied.

Earlier than they dated, Woods employed Herman in 2014 to assist develop after which function the golfer’s The Woods sports activities bar and restaurant in close by Jupiter — however they don’t agree when their romantic relationship and cohabitation started.

Herman says in her courtroom filings that their romantic relationship started in 2015 and that in late 2016 she moved into Woods’ practically 30,000-square-foot (2,800-square-meter) mansion within the ritzy Hobe Sound group. She says that in 2017, Woods verbally promised she might stay there a minimum of 11 extra years. Herman says Woods pressured her to stop the job in 2020 so she might spend extra time taking good care of him and his youngsters.

Woods, in his courtroom paperwork, says their romantic relationship started in 2017 and that she moved in with him that August, concerning the time the disputed nondisclosure settlement was signed. In March 2017, Woods had put the mansion into the Jupiter Island Irrevocable Homestead Belief, an entity he created that has solely himself and his two youngsters as beneficiaries.