Erica Herman is not giving up her fight against Tiger Woods.
After her lawsuit against the famed golfer was rejected by a Florida state judge in May, she asked the court to reconsider but got denied by the same judge on June 2.
And now she’s filing an appeal, prolonging a case that has accused Woods of sexual harassment and revealed details of her messy breakup with Woods in October.
Herman, Woods’ ex-girlfriend, filed a notice of appeal Friday that states she is taking her case to the Fourth District Court of Appeal in Florida, according to court records obtained by USA TODAY Sports. Her lawsuit seeks to release her from the non-disclosure agreement (NDA) that she allegedly signed with Woods in 2017.
Why is she doing this?
Her attorney, Benjamin Hodas, disputes the validity of the NDA, which required her to keep her private life Woods confidential. The disputed NDA also required her to resolve any disputes between the two former lovers in private arbitration proceedings instead of public court.
But Herman said she doesn’t remember signing it and even cited new federal laws that invalidate NDAs and forced arbitration agreements in cases of sexual harassment or assault.
Judge Elizabeth Metzger didn’t buy these arguments, however. She ruled in Woods’ favor and sent the case back to private arbitration and noted that Herman herself never actually denied signing it.
By appealing the case, she likely will argue that the judge was wrong and that it was never established with evidence that the NDA is valid. She has not yet filed her arguments for the appeal. Woods’ attorney didn’t immediately return a message seeking comment but has denied the sexual harassment allegation, which stemmed from her time as an employee at Woods’ restaurant in Florida.
In court records, she stated Woods pursued a sexual relationship with her when she was his employee, then forced her to sign an NDA about it – or be fired from her job if she did not.
Why does she want out of the NDA?
The case arose from her breakup with Woods in October, when she said she was tricked into being locked out of their residence on the Treasure Coast of Florida. She stated this violated an oral tenancy agreement she had to stay at the residence for several more years. She claimed $30 million in damages and filed suit against the trust Woods established for the residence.
Then she filed her lawsuit against Woods himself in March, challenging the validity of the NDA.
“Because of the aggressive use of the Woods NDA against her by the Defendant and the trust under his control, the Plaintiff is unsure whether she may disclose, among other things, facts giving rise to various legal claims she believes she has,” the lawsuit states. “She is also currently unsure what other information about her own life she may discuss or with whom.”
She hoped the court would declare that the NDA is not valid or enforceable. The judge said no.
Her separate lawsuit against the trust remains pending but could be dismissed soon by the same judge. Woods’ attorney said there was no oral tenancy agreement and gave his own theory about why Herman had taken her dispute to public court instead of resolving it in private arbitration as required by the NDA.
“By suing the Trust over conduct taken by Mr. Woods and his agents following the breakup, Ms. Herman seeks to flout her obligation to resolve all disputes with Mr. Woods in a confidential binding arbitration,” his attorney wrote in a court document filed in December. “Instead, in the context of litigation and the publicity that is likely to follow, Ms. Herman improperly seeks to leverage a payment from Mr. Woods in an amount that no arbitral forum would ever award.”