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Judge denies request from Tiger Woods' ex-girlfriend to rehear case against NDA

June 08, 2023
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WILLIAM WEST

A Florida judge has denied a request from Erica Herman’s lawyers to rehear Herman’s claim against Tiger Woods regarding a non-disclosure agreement between Woods and Herman.

Herman, Woods’ former girlfriend, filed a lawsuit in March alleging an NDA should be declared unenforceable under the federal Speak Out Act. The act, which prevents the enforcement of NDAs in instances of sexual assault and harassment, was signed into law in December 2022. It is part of a wave of legislation spurring from the Me Too movement, with the law citing that NDAs had been found to perpetuate illegal conduct. In late May a circuit judge ruled against Herman, writing that Herman had failed to “provide factual specificity” regarding any accusation.

On June 1, Herman and her lawyers asked the court to reconsider her case on four issues, most notable a lack of evidence. Additionally, Herman’s attorneys asserted that “a party cannot be forced to arbitrate without a finding that she agreed to do so, which means that in this case—with no evidence in the record—arbitration should not be compelled, or, at a minimum, an evidentiary hearing should be held.”

However, in a one-page ruling, Judge Elizabeth Metzger tossed out the request.

“The Court, having reviewed the Motion and being otherwise fully advised in the premises, hereby orders and adjudges that the motion is denied,” Metzger wrote. The judge did not elaborate any further.

Preceding the March accusation, Herman filed a complaint against Jupiter Island Irrevocable Homestead Trust—a trust that Woods controls—last October that the entity was in violation of the Florida Residential Landlord Tenant Act, with Herman seeking more than $30 million for damages suffered. Herman claims “by trickery, agents of the Defendant convinced the Plaintiff to pack a suitcase for a short vacation and, when she arrived at the airport, they told her she had been locked out of her residence.” Court filings showed Herman shared the same address as Woods in Jupiter, Fla. Herman claims she was told she could not return to the house and “without legal counsel to aid in her in this emotional moment, they utilized a lawyer to confront her with proposals to resolve the wrongdoing they were in the midst of committing.”

Herman, 39, was the general manager at Woods' restaurant, The Woods Jupiter, and was first publicly seen with Woods at the 2017 Presidents Cup. She alleged in court documents that when they began to have a personal relationship, Woods and his lawyers required her to sign the NDA and threatened to fire her if she didn't sign.

Woods is not in next week’s U.S. Open field as he continues to rehab following surgery.