Tiger Woods’s ex-girlfriend Erica Herman was denied her request to have her non-disclosure agreement with the golf star voided.
Herman, 38, who dated Woods, 47, for five years, is sued him over an NDA she claimed she was being wrongfully enforced on her, citing the Speak Out Act and alleging sexual harassment.
But late Wednesday night, Circuit Judge Elizabeth Metzger, in an 11-page opinion, rejected Herman’s attempt to quash the 2017 agreement by saying Woods had committed sexual harassment against her, calling Herman’s allegations ‘vague and threadbare.’
‘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,’ Metzger wrote.
Metzger also said that the evidence shows that a nondisclosure agreement was negotiated between Herman and Woods in 2017, even if her attorney, Benjamin Hodas, now questions whether she actually signed it.
Tiger Woods’s (left) ex-girlfriend Erica Herman (right) was denied her request to have her non-disclosure agreement with the golf star voided late on Wednesday night
Herman, 38, dated Woods, 47, for five years before he broke things off on October 13, 2022
Herman was regularly spotted attending events such as the Ryder Cup with Woods
At a May 9 hearing, Hodas conceded that Herman signed an agreement, but he said she doesn´t remember ever seeing the one Woods’ attorneys presented to the court.
Metzger said that if Herman unequivocally denied signing the agreement, she would have ordered a hearing on that issue. But since Herman isn’t sure if she signed it or not, that is a question for the arbitrator to decide.
Neither Hodas nor Woods’ attorney, J.B. Murray, immediately responded to late Wednesday emails seeking comment. It is unknown of Hodas will appeal.
Herman, 39, had sued both Woods, 47, and the trust that owns his $54 million Florida mansion, seeking $30 million from the latter amid unspecified allegations of sexual harassment. Forbes Magazine estimates Woods´ net worth at $1.1 billion.
Herman, who managed Woods´ Palm Beach County restaurant before and during the first years of their romantic relationship, argues that the nondisclosure agreement is unenforceable under a new federal law that says such contracts can be voided when sexual abuse or sexual harassment occurred.
In court documents, Herman alleged that Woods pursued a sexual relationship with her while she was his employee at his South Florida restaurant and forced her into signing an NDA.
She claimed in the filing that the golfer forced her to either sign a non-disclosure agreement or be fired from her job.
Hodas argued that is a type of harassment, treating one employee different than others because they have a sexual relationship.
But the sexual harassment allegation was barely mentioned during last week´s hearing. Metzger told Hodas she needed more information about what allegedly happened to consider it. Hodas said he couldn´t provide more information publicly in fear that he would be violating the nondisclosure agreement if it is ultimately upheld.
Murray has called the allegation ‘utterly meritless.’
Woods’ attorney, J.B. Murray called the allegation against the golfing icon ‘utterly meritless’
The couple were first spotted at the Presidents Cup in New Jersey in October 2017 (pictured)
In Herman´s lawsuit against Woods, she asked Metzger to either void the nondisclosure agreement or at least give her guidance about what she can say publicly. She also argued that the contract covers only her work relationship with Woods, not their personal matters.
Woods’s lawyers retaliated by filing a motion to compel arbitration, which contained documents showing communications between Herman and Woods’s team over the NDA.
Herman expressed concern over being left jobless should her relationship with Woods come to an end in an email chain from August 2017.
‘My only concern is if by chance TW does something that brings our relationship to an end, do I automatically loose [sic] my job?’ she wrote in an email to Chris Hubman, CFO of TGR Ventures.
‘I don’t have any problems with what’s in the document because I wouldn’t go public or use anything I know to hurt him or the kids but with my whole life in his hands now I would want to have some kind of control over my future in the business.
‘If something happened 5-10 years down the road I don’t want to be in my 40’s heartbroken and jobless. Thoughts?’
Hubman assured her in his response that her employment at Woods’s restaurant, The Woods Jupiter (TWJ), and her personal relationship with the PGA Tour star were ‘two separate items’ and the NDA didn’t ‘address the terms of your TWJ employment.’
The documents showed Herman indicating she understood before allegedly sending Hubman a signed copy of the NDA, dated August 9, 2017.
Herman expressed concern over being left jobless should her relationship with Woods come to an end in an email chain from August 2017, court documents showed last week
Chris Hubman, CFO of TGR Ventures assured her that her employment at Woods’s restaurant and her personal relationship with the PGA Tour star were ‘two separate items’
A filing last week, showed the alleged NDA, signed by Woods and Herman, dated August, 2017
Woods also claimed that he could verify that the signature on the NDA is Herman’s as he became ‘familiar with her signature and handwriting’ over the course of their relationship.
In her separate unlawful-eviction lawsuit against the trust, she is basing her $30 million claim on how much it would cost to rent a property like Woods´ beachfront mansion north of Palm Beach for the six years of residence she was allegedly promised by the golfer and then denied.
She claimed that she had an oral agreement with Woods’s trust – the Jupiter Island Irrevocable Homestead Trust – that allowed her to live at the property for 11 years.
The complaint says that she provided ‘valuable services’ at Woods’s requests as part of the ‘oral tenancy agreement,’ which gave her the right to live at the property for a ‘certain duration of time.’
But Woods’s attorneys dispute that he never negotiated a written or oral tenancy agreement with her and that she lived at the property as a ‘guest’ of the golfing icon.
Before they dated, Woods hired Herman in 2014 to help develop and then operate the golfer´s The Woods sports bar and restaurant in nearby Jupiter – but they do not agree when their romantic relationship and cohabitation began.
Herman says in her court filings that their romantic relationship began in 2015 and that in late 2016 she moved into Woods´ nearly 30,000-square-foot (2,800-square-meter) mansion in the ritzy Hobe Sound community.
She says that in 2017, Woods verbally promised she could live there at least 11 more years. Herman says Woods pressured her to quit the job in 2020 so she could spend more time taking care of him and his children.
Herman also filed a lawsuit in October against the Jupiter Island Irrevocable Homestead Trust, which is the legal owner of his mansion in Hobe Sound where the two lived together
The couple were last seen together at the US Open in August 2022
Woods has two children Sam, 15, and Charlie, 13, with his ex-wife (pictured with Woods and Herman after his after the World Golf Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony in 2022)
Woods, in his court documents, says their romantic relationship began in 2017 and that she moved in with him that August, about the time the disputed nondisclosure agreement was signed. In March 2017, Woods had put the mansion into the Jupiter Island Irrevocable Homestead Trust, an entity he created that has only himself and his two children as beneficiaries.
Woods and Herman were together for five years after being first spotted at the Presidents Cup in New Jersey in October 2017.
Once they started dating the two became inseparable, with Herman regularly supporting him at golf tournaments.
Rumors first began swirling about them after Erica was seen wearing a ‘player spouse’ badge, usually given to wives and girlfriends.
The following month, they went public about their relationship.
Woods’s lawyers state that he broke things off on October 13, 2022.