On May 17, a Florida judge decided that Tiger Woods’ ex-girlfriend must comply by a nondisclosure agreement she allegedly signed and resolve her cases against the golfer in which she seeks millions through private arbitration in secret.
In an 11-page judgment, Circuit Judge Elizabeth Metzger rejected Erica Herman’s attempt to invalidate the 2017 agreement by alleging that Woods had harassed her sexually, finding Herman’s claims “vague and threadbare.”
“Herman has had the opportunity (to) provide factual specificity for any claim relating to sexual assault or sexual harassment, however, she has not done so,” Metzger wrote.
The nondisclosure agreement between Herman and Woods was reportedly arranged in 2017, according to Metzger, even if her lawyer, Benjamin Hodas, now doubts whether she truly signed it.
Hodas admitted that Herman signed an agreement during a hearing on May 9, but she claims she doesn’t recall ever seeing the one that Woods’ attorneys displayed in court.
Metzger stated that she would have mandated a hearing on the matter if Herman had categorically denied signing the contract.
Herman is unsure whether she signed it or not, so the arbitrator will have to decide that. If Hodas would appeal is unknown.
Herman, 39, had sued both Woods, 47, and the trust that owns his $54 million Florida mansion, seeking $30 million from the latter amid unspecified allegations of sexual harassment.
Forbes Magazine estimates Woods’ net worth at $1.1 billion.
Herman, who worked as Woods’ restaurant manager in Palm Beach County before and during the early years of their relationship, claims that a new federal statute that says such contracts can be void when sexual assault or sexual harassment happened renders the nondisclosure agreement invalid.
In court papers, she claimed that Woods had threatened to let her go if she didn’t sign a nondisclosure contract.
Hodas stated that treating one employee differently than others because they have a sexual relationship constitutes harassment.
However, the hearing last week scarcely touched on the alleged sexual harassment. Metzger informed Hodas that in order to assess what allegedly occurred, she needed additional details.
Hodas said he couldn’t provide more information publicly in fear that he would be violating the nondisclosure agreement if it is ultimately upheld.
Murray has called the allegation “utterly meritless.”
In Herman’s lawsuit against Woods, she asked Metzger to either void the nondisclosure agreement or at least give her guidance about what she can say publicly.
She also argued that the contract covers only her work relationship with Woods, not their personal matters.
She is basing her $30 million claim in her unlawful eviction action against the trust on how much it would cost to rent a home similar to Woods’ oceanfront mansion north of Palm Beach for the six years of habitation she was allegedly promised by the golfer and then refused.
Herman worked with Woods to build and run The Woods sports bar and restaurant in nearby Jupiter before they started dating, although they disagree on when their relationship and subsequent cohabitation started.
Herman claims in her court documents that Woods and her started dating in 2015 and that she moved into Woods’ approximately 30,000-square-foot property in the affluent Hobe Sound neighborhood in late 2016.
She claims that in 2017, Woods made a verbal commitment to allow her to stay for at least an additional 11 years. Herman claims that Woods put pressure on her to leave the company in 2020 so she could devote more time to caring for him and his kids.
According to Woods’ court pleadings, they started dating in 2017 and she moved in with him in August of that same year, around the time the contested nondisclosure agreement was written.