Most lawsuit headlines in golf lately have typically involved LIV Golf and the PGA Tour, or Patrick Reed and Larry Klayman against any number of defendants. The latest lawsuit headlines don’t involve either, but they do involve the biggest name in golf.
Tiger Woods’ ex-girlfriend, Erica Herman, has filed two lawsuits: one against the 15-time major winner’s homestead trust seeking $30 million, and another to release her from the non-disclosure agreement she signed with Woods early on in their relationship.
Woods and Herman met when Herman worked at Tiger’s “The Woods” restaurant in Jupiter, Fla. She was a bartender and eventually became the restaurant’s general manager. The couple had been living together since 2017, which is when Tiger asked Herman to sign the NDA.
The couple reportedly broke up in October of last year, which is when Woods allegedly kicked Herman out of his home. The suit alleges that she was forced out of Woods’ Jupiter, Fla., mansion by “trickery” of agents of Woods’ trust, who told her to pack a suitcase for a “short vacation” before taking her to the airport and telling her she’d been locked out of the residence.
Herman’s complaint was filed in October 2022, under the Florida Residential Landlord Tenant Act. Herman claims that she entered into an oral agreement with Woods that she could stay in the house for 11 years, even if the couple broke up. It also stated that she provided services that were “extensive and of an extraordinary nature” in return for living in Woods’ home. After living there for six years, Herman is arguing she’s entitled to stay for the additional five based on an “oral tenancy agreement.”
According to court records, Woods’ trust responded to the allegations indicating Herman was simply no longer welcome in his home after they ended their relationship.
A domestic dispute between Tiger Woods and his former girlfriend has spilled into court in Florida after he broke up with her and allegedly locked her out of his house last year, according to court records obtained by @usatodaysports. https://t.co/UxoObyYOoD
— USA TODAY (@USATODAY) March 8, 2023
“Ms. Herman was invited to live in the Residence while she was in a relationship with her former boyfriend, Eldrick (Tiger) Woods, who continues to live in the Residence with his two children,” said a document filed in court by the trust. “After Mr. Woods recently terminated the relationship, Ms. Herman was advised that she was no longer welcome in the Residence.”
The trust also asked the court to compel confidential arbitration for the dispute as laid out in the NDA Herman signed at the start of her relationship with Woods. They argued that Herman sued the trust instead of Woods in order to avoid that requirement and “gain leverage by litigating her disputes with Mr. Woods in a public forum.”
Herman is seeking up to $30 million in damages based on what she claims to be the rental value for the five years she alleges Woods agreed to let her stay in his home. She’s also suing for an additional $40,000 she claims was misappropriated from the property after she was locked out.
Herman’s second suit is asking a court to declare her NDA at least partly unenforceable, claiming she is unable to pursue several legal claims against Woods due to “uncertainty” surrounding what she’s allowed to disclose.
Tiger Woods $60 million dollar mansion, which includes a running track and a 4 hole golf course. pic.twitter.com/FLxga9nFEn
— Celebrity Things (@CeIebrityThings) August 22, 2013
“This uncertainty is acute and important,” said the court filing. “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.
“She is also currently unsure what other information about her own life she may discuss or with whom. There is therefore an active dispute between the Plaintiff and the Defendant for which the Plaintiff needs a clarifying declaration from the court.”
Her argument also claims that the NDA should be declared unenforceable based on the federal Speak Out Act, which prohibits enforcing an NDA agreed to before incidents of sexual assault or harassment.
The law states: “With respect to a sexual assault dispute or sexual harassment dispute, no nondisclosure clause or nondisparagement clause agreed to before the dispute arises shall be judicially enforceable in instances in which conduct is alleged to have violated Federal, Tribal, or State law.”
The cover page on Herman’s complaint over residency had checked the box for “No” on whether her claim involved sexual abuse. However, on the filing regarding the NDA, Herman checked that box “Yes.”
On the cover page to the complaint, Herman checked the box “no” for whether the claim involved sexual abuse.
Tiger’s team filed a motion to dismiss, arguing that she was simply a disgruntled lover and guest in his home, rather than a “tenant”
— John Nucci (@JNucci23) March 9, 2023
To date, there have been no specific allegations of any sexual assault or harassment by Woods.
John Nucci, a lawyer who has been covering the LIV Golf and PGA Tour lawsuits for ConductDetrimental.com, broke down both suits in a Twitter thread posted on Wednesday.
THREAD: Tiger Woods is now fighting two separate lawsuits filed by his ex-girlfriend, Erica Herman.
Here is a brief timeline of events and allegations… pic.twitter.com/asm1MZ09gO
— John Nucci (@JNucci23) March 9, 2023
Woods’ team has not responded to any requests for comment.
Woods’ last major public appearance was at The Genesis Invitational in mid-February, where he participated in the event and served as tournament host. His next appearance is expected to be at The Masters in early April.