According to court documents obtained by USA TODAY Sports, Tiger Woods and his ex-girlfriend are currently engaged in a domestic dispute in Florida after he dumped her in October and allegedly forced her out of the seaside property they shared on the Treasure Coast.
The former girlfriend, Erica Herman, responded by launching a lawsuit, not against the golf icon but against a homestead trust he controls in Hobe Sound, Florida. She is now requesting more than $30 million in damages and alleges that the trust and its representatives stole $40,000 in cash that was hers, making “scurrilous and defamatory charges how she obtained the money.”
According to her lawsuit, she had a “oral tenancy agreement” to stay in the house for an additional five years, which had been in place for six years prior to the separation.
In her case, the plaintiff claimed that in light of the entire situation and environment she was living in, the obligations she was required to undertake and that were expected of her were vast and of an extraordinary kind.
She also sued Wood in a different complaint filed this week, requesting that the court discharge her from the 2017 non-disclosure agreement she had with Woods. According to her, the Speak Out Act, which forbids the judicial enforcement of such agreements in cases involving sexual assault or harassment, renders it unenforceable.
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As Woods’ trust’s attorneys work to uphold the NDA and divert the case from open court to private arbitration, the two lawsuits are interwoven.
Although the trust was the target of the first lawsuit in October, it was not publicly disclosed until Wednesday.
litigation involving the trust
Herman’s case against the trust claimed that despite her repeated requests, the defendant’s agents had refused to let her back into her house.
She was allegedly driven to leave by the “trickery” of trust officials who persuaded her to pack a suitcase for a quick getaway, according to the lawsuit filed against the trust. The action claims that when she arrived at the airport, they informed her that she had been locked out of her home, contravening both Florida law and the oral tenancy agreement.
In response to that lawsuit, the trust has asked the court to order a private arbitration of the difference. She sued the trust rather than Woods to get around this condition and “gain power by litigating her disputes with Mr. Woods in a public venue,” according to the document, which stated that the NDA between Woods and Herman required arbitration for such conflicts.
Woods created the trust in 2017, according to court documents submitted by the trust. The sole beneficiaries of it could be Woods and his kids. Its ownership stake in this house is its only asset.
According to a document the trust filed in court, “Ms. Herman was invited to live at the Residence when she was in a relationship with her previous lover, Eldrick (Tiger) Woods, who continues to reside in the Residence with his two children. Ms. Herman was informed that she was no longer permitted in the Residence after Mr. Woods just ended the relationship.
Herman, though, has retaliated, pointing to a federal rule that nullifies arbitration agreements that bar a party from bringing a legal claim for sexual assault and harassment. The Eliminating Forced Arbitration of Sexual Assault and Sexual Harassment Act of 2021 is the name of this legislation.
The manager of Woods’ restaurant in Jupiter, Florida, Herman, has not made any specific claims of harassment or violence against Woods. Instead, she is requesting that the court rule that her NDA is at least partially unenforceable, allowing her to speak more.
This week, she filed a lawsuit against Woods, stating that the situation was urgent and significant. “The Plaintiff is uncertain as to whether she may divulge, among other things, facts giving rise to different legal rights she believes she has due to the Defendant’s aggressive use of the Woods NDA against her and the trust under his control. Also, she is unsure of what other details about her personal life she may reveal or with whom at this time. As a result, there is a current legal disagreement between the Plaintiff and the Defendant, and the Plaintiff requires a court clarification declaration.
“All expenses that linked to Plaintiffs residency, or that derived therefrom, were to be entirely reimbursed by the Defendant or its privies,” Herman’s claim against the trust read. Furthermore, it notes that the amount of damages will be decided at trial and “is likely to be measured in excess of $30,000,000, considering the significant monthly rental value of the Dwelling.”
Lawyers representing the opposing parties didn’t immediately respond to requests for comment.
The argument is the latest in a string of issues that Woods has faced off the golf field over the years. In 2021, he made a full recovery from the most recent in a series of driving-related problems, a car accident close to Los Angeles. In 2010, he also filed for divorce from his wife Elin Nordegren following a sex scandal.