Texans on defensive against ex-cheerleaders' suit, seek dismissal of litigation

By John Suayan | Jun 19, 2018

HOUSTON – For nearly a decade, the Houston Texans have boasted one of the NFL’s toughest defenses.

Now, the Texans are on the defensive in terms of a recent federal lawsuit accusing the team of underpayment and mistreatment from a few former members of its cheerleading squad. This series, however, will not be led by J.J. Watt and Jadeveon Clowney.

The defendant’s lead counsel, David M. Gregory of the law firm Locke Lord LLP in Houston, filed an opposed motion to dismiss the litigation initiated by Hannah Turnbow, Ainsley Parish, Morgan Wiederhold, Ashley Rodriguez, and Kelly Neuner on June 13.

“Each of the plaintiffs signed valid employment agreements with the Texans that contain mandatory arbitration provisions,” the document states. “The plaintiffs themselves acknowledge the validity of these agreements in their original complaint. All of the claims asserted in this case fall squarely within the scope of these arbitration provisions.”

According to the 27-page motion, the Texans seek to have the suit dismissed on the following grounds:

  • Plaintiff Turnbow's claim under Title VII should be dismissed because she has failed to exhaust her administrative remedies.
  • The plaintiffs’ claims for appropriation of likeness should be dismissed because the plaintiffs all gave consent and an express license for the Texans to use their names and likenesses.
  • The plaintiffs’ claims for negligence per se based on an alleged violation of Texas Penal Code §42.07(a)(7) should be dismissed because there is no right to civil relief under this statute.
  • All of the plaintiffs’ claims for negligence per se, negligent hiring, negligent retention, and negligence should be dismissed because they are barred by the Texas Workers’ Compensation Act.
  • The plaintiffs’ claims for assault by threat of bodily injury should be dismissed because the Plaintiffs fail to allege sufficient facts in support.
Gregory submitted a separate motion to dismiss in relation to Neuner’s allegations. The motion asserts Neuner made claims that are time-barred and “facially invalid.”

Houston Division of the Southern District of Texas Case No. 4:18-CV-1797

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