According to court documents obtained by USA TODAY Sports, a domestic dispute between Tiger Woods and his former girlfriend has spilled into court in Florida after he broke up with her in October and purportedly locked her out of the beachfront house they shared on the Treasure Coast.
Erica Herman, the golf legend’s ex-girlfriend, responded by filing a lawsuit against a homestead trust he owns in Hobe Sound, Florida. She is now suing for more than $30 million in damages, claiming that the trust and its agents took $40,000 from her and made “scurrilous and defamatory accusations about how she acquired the money.”
Her case claimed she had a “oral tenancy arrangement” to remain at the residence for another five years, which had been in effect for six years previous to the separation.
“The responsibilities that Plaintiff was asked to do and were expected to fulfil were extensive and of an exceptional sort in light of the overall circumstances and atmosphere in which she lived,” according to her lawsuit.
She also sued Wood in a second lawsuit this week, requesting that the court release her from her 2017 nondisclosure agreement with Woods. She said it was unenforceable under the federal Speak Out Act, which bars courts from enforcing such agreements in situations of sexual assault or harassment.
The cases are intertwined as Woods’ trust attorneys try to enforce the NDA and shift the matter from public court to private arbitration.
The trust was sued for the first time in October, but the matter was not made public until Wednesday.
a lawsuit has been brought against the trust
“Plaintiff has repeatedly requested to be let back into her home, but Defendant’s agents have refused,” according to Herman’s lawsuit against the trust.
According to the complaint filed against the trust, she was forced to leave owing to the “trickery” of trust agents who persuaded her to pack a suitcase for a short vacation. According to the complaint, when she arrived at the airport, she was notified that she had been locked out of her home, in violation of the oral lease agreement and Florida law.
In response to the complaint, the trust has requested that the dispute be resolved via private arbitration. The NDA between Woods and Herman requires arbitration for such disputes, according to the lawsuit, and she sued the trust rather than Woods to avoid this commitment and “gain power by litigating her difficulties with Mr. Woods in a public setting.”
According to the trust’s court documents, Woods established the trust in 2017. The only potential beneficiaries are Woods and his children. Its only asset is an interest in this home.
“Ms. Herman was requested to dwell at the House while in a relationship with her previous lover, Eldrick (Tiger) Woods, who continues to live in the Residence with his two children,” the trust said in a court filing. “When Mr. Woods ended the relationship, Ms. Herman was informed that she was no longer permitted in the House.”
Herman, on the other hand, has argued that arbitration agreements that exclude a party from suing in court for sexual assault and harassment are unlawful. The name of this law is the Ending Forced Arbitration of Sexual Assault and Sexual Harassment Act of 2021.
Herman, who worked as the manager of Woods’ Jupiter, Florida restaurant, has not filed any specific complaints against him for assault or harassment. Instead, she is asking a court to declare her NDA unenforceable, enabling her to talk more freely.
“This uncertainty is severe and serious,” she said in a court filing last week against Woods. “Because of the Defendant’s aggressive use of the Woods NDA against her and the trust under his control, the Plaintiff is unsure if she may expose material that gives rise to various legal rights she believes she has. She is also unsure about what other aspects about her personal life she will divulge or with whom she will share them. As a consequence, the Plaintiff and the Defendant continue to differ, and the Plaintiff seeks clarification from the court.”
“All expenditures associated to Plaintiff’s residence, or ensuing therefrom, were to be completely reimbursed by the Defendant or its privies,” according to Herman’s complaint against the trust. It goes on to say that damages will be determined at trial, but “are expected to surpass $30,000,000, given the Residence’s considerable monthly rental value.”
The sides’ lawyers did not reply quickly to calls for comment.
The altercation adds to Woods’ lengthy litany of off-the-course issues. He recovered from an automotive collision in Los Angeles in 2021, the latest in a string of driving mishaps. After a sex scandal, he divorced his wife Elin Nordegren in 2010.