Judge Rules in Favor of Tiger Woods, Says Ex-Girlfriend Erica Herman Can't Get Out of NDA
A Florida judge ruled that Herman will need to take her case to arbitration, according to court documents obtained by PEOPLE
Tiger Woods won part of his legal battle against his ex-girlfriend Erica Herman Tuesday, with a judge deciding that Herman cannot be released from her non-disclosure agreement.
In legal documents reviewed by PEOPLE, Florida Judge Elizabeth A. Metzger determined on Wednesday that the dispute between the exes should be kept private, per the agreement of their NDA, and that Herman would have to take her case to arbitration.
Herman, 38, filed a lawsuit against the 47-year-old golfer in March in an attempt to nullify their NDA, citing the Speak Out Act, a clause that protects victims of sexual harassment.
Herman claimed that Woods pursued her romantically while she was an employee at his restaurant and forced her to sign an NDA to keep the details of their relationship private, according to the filing. She also said Woods ended their relationship and kicked her out of their formerly-shared home by tricking her into packing her belongings for a fake trip. When Herman arrived at the airport, Woods allegedly told her to talk to his lawyer and then left, the document claimed.
Herman's original complaint did not include accusations of sexual harassment or assault against Woods. In the judge's order on Wednesday, Metzger said, "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. Additionally, at no time has Herman's counsel requested an opportunity to file" any allegations against Woods.
Related:Tiger Woods Rejects Claims of Sexual Assault in Filing, Calling Erica Herman a 'Jilted Ex-Girlfriend'
Metzger said Herman's claims were "implausibly pled" and failed to provide "factual specificity for any claim relating to sexual assault or sexual harassment" in the ruling on Wednesday.
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Herman's lawyers had tried to argue in previous court appearances that Herman was not "certain" she signed the NDA and wasn't sure if the signature was hers, but the court determined that Herman "has not met her burden to dispute the existence of the NDA," per the judge's order.
Declarations filed by Woods' legal team said the golfer "unequivocally stated" that Herman "actively participated in negotiations for the NDA" before signing it.
Herman is also currently suing Woods for $30 million, over claims he kicked her out of his home before the terms of an "oral agreement" that allowed her to live there for another five years ended. That lawsuit is still ongoing.
Herman, a former restaurant manager, was first romantically linked to Woods when she was pictured alongside him at the Presidents Cup in new Jersey in September 2017. It was there at the tournament — where Woods served as an assistant captain for the United States team — that Herman wore a badge reserved for the girlfriends and wives of players.
Related:Tiger Woods' Ex Claims He Had His Lawyer Break Up With Her at the Airport in Fake Vacation 'Scheme'
Over the years, Herman has been a constant at the course whenever Woods is competing. However, the couple have otherwise remained very private over the years (a notable difference from Woods' previous relationship with Lindsey Vonn and his very public marriage and divorce from Elin Nordegren).
They were rarely seen out in public at non-golf events, but they did attend the 2022 US Open together to support Serena Williams from the stands. Herman has no social media presence either and has only appeared on Woods' Instagram three times since October 2017.
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