Tiger Woods’ ex-girlfriend drops suit, says she never claimed sexual harassment
$30 million lawsuit against trust dismissed ‘with prejudice;’ appeal of decision in separate lawsuit also dropped
Tiger Woods’ ex-girlfriend has dropped her lawsuits against the golf superstar and the trust that owns his Florida mansion, saying she never accused him of sexual harassment even though her attorney has made that claim.
The attorney for Erica Herman filed a one-paragraph notice in state court last week saying she was voluntarily dismissing her $30 million lawsuit against the trust "with prejudice," meaning the claim cannot be reasserted later. She had claimed that Woods promised she could live at the 30,000-square-foot beachfront mansion until 2026 but kicked her out unexpectedly last year.
"In dismissing this action, Erica Herman states that she was never a victim of sexual harassment or sexual abuse at the hands of Tiger Woods or any of his agents and it is her position that she has never asserted such a claim," wrote attorney Benjamin Hodas, who claimed on multiple occasions that Woods had sexually harassed his client.
A separate lawsuit against Woods was rejected by a judge in May, and court records show an appeal of that decision was dropped this week. Nothing in court documents indicates a settlement was reached on either lawsuit, though that could have been done privately.
Hodas did not return a call and email seeking comment Thursday. Woods' attorney, J.B. Murray, declined to comment.
Herman was Woods' girlfriend from 2015 until October 2022, moving into his $54 million mansion north of Palm Beach in 2016. She managed his Palm Beach County restaurant before and during the first years of their romantic relationship, and she signed a nondisclosure agreement in 2017 that barred her from discussing their relationship publicly. It also required her to take any legal disagreements with Woods to private arbitration and not to court.
Hodas claimed in a May court hearing that Herman didn't remember signing the document but that if she did it was under duress, having been told she would be fired from the restaurant if she didn't.
Hodas argued the nondisclosure agreement was unenforceable under a new federal law that says such contracts can be voided when sexual abuse or sexual harassment occurs. He contended that Woods' alleged threat to fire her was harassment.
"A boss imposing different work conditions on his employee because of their sexual relationship is sexual harassment," Hodas wrote in a May filing.
Circuit Judge Elizabeth Metzger rejected Herman's attempt to quash the nondisclosure agreement later in May, calling her allegations "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.
Forbes Magazine estimates Woods' net worth at $1.1 billion. In 2017, Woods put the mansion into the Jupiter Island Irrevocable Homestead Trust, an entity he created that has only himself and his two children as beneficiaries.
Associated Press 2023