Chris Manderson Quoted in Forbes, "Erica Herman Dismisses $30 Million Civil Suit Against Tiger Woods’ Trust, But Leaves Door Open To Refile"


Chris Manderson, Partner and Co-Chair of ECJ’s Business, Corporate and Tax department was was recently featured in Forbes in an article titled, "Erica Herman Dismisses $30 Million Civil Suit Against Tiger Woods’ Trust, But Leaves Door Open To Refile".

"If she gets a favorable ruling on appeal, and her claims aren't subject to compelled arbitration, I suspect she would refile in court,” said Chris Manderson, a partner at Ervin Cohen & Jessup and a co-chair of the firm’s Business, Corporate and Tax Department. “If she loses the appeal, and is compelled to arbitration, then it wouldn't make much sense to refile."

“Appeals are hard to win. An appellate court will generally not retry the case, but rather, it will determine if the judge appropriately applied the law,” added Manderson, who is not connected to the Woods/Herman cases. “The appellate court is likely to look to whether there was competent substantial evidence in the record to support the judge's decision, or whether the court abused its discretion. Lower court decisions are generally afforded substantial discretion unless there was glaring error or a grossly inadequate factual basis.”

Benjamin Hodas, Herman’s attorney, and John B.T. Murray Jr., Woods’ lead attorney in these two matters, both did not return messages. Woods’ attorneys have referred to Herman in court papers as a “jilted ex-girlfriend who wants to publicly litigate specious claims in court.”

In addition to her argument that the NDA is unenforceable, Herman leveled sexual assault allegations against Woods in the civil complaint against him, and she references several federal statutes, including the Speak Out Act of 2022, in support of her argument the NDA is invalid.

“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,” wrote Judge Metzger in her ruling on the NDA matter.
If Herman loses her appeal and ultimately does not refile, she does not give up her claims for damages in arbitration. But the public won’t know what — if any — damages are awarded, nor how much they would entail.

Forbes estimates Woods’ net worth to be $1.1 billion.

“One benefit of confidential arbitration for celebrities is the settlement value of claims decreases because they don’t have to air out potentially embarrassing allegations in the public arena,” said Manderson. “In other words, dramatic soap opera allegations have a higher value to plaintiffs in a public proceeding.

“Non-Disclosure Agreements and mandatory confidential arbitration provisions do not only benefit celebrities, but many businesses require such contractual protections for the same reason,” said Manderson. “Arbitration is generally more efficient, faster, and sometimes cheaper. But perhaps the biggest value is that arbitration is confidential, and you keep incendiary allegations out of the public eye.”

Chris Manderson is a Partner and Co-Chair of the Business, Corporate and Tax Department. Chris specializes in mergers & acquisitions, venture capital, debt and equity financing, distressed and restructuring transactions, and preserving and utilizing Net Operating Loss (NOL) tax assets.  He also advises public and private company boards and executives on all aspects of corporate governance.

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