Dolphins lawyers Xavien Howard seek to dismiss lawsuit against STD

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Miami Dolphins cornerback Xavien Howard walks off the field after the Dolphins lost to the Cincinnati Bengals 27-15 at Paycor Stadium Thursday, September 29, 2022 in Cincinnati, Ohio.

dsantiago@miamiherald.com

Miami Dolphins cornerback Xavien Howard is facing a heavy lawsuit after a woman came forward alleging he knowingly gave her genital herpes – an incurable sexually transmitted disease.

The three-time Pro Bowler and his attorneys are now fighting the charges, filing a motion to dismiss the case on the grounds that the woman did not identify herself. The petition called her allegations “salacious and outrageous” and cited instances in which she allegedly stalked him, according to court documents.

“Plaintiff’s complaint is the epitome of a shakedown,” his lawyers said in court papers regarding the woman’s allegations.

The woman filed the lawsuit anonymously on Oct. 27 in Broward County Circuit Court seeking damages in excess of $30,000. She is also asking that the suit be heard by a jury, according to court documents.

Howard, a second-round pick with the Dolphins in the 2016 draft, is one of the best cornerbacks in the NFL. His 27 career interceptions since entering the league are the most of any player in that span. In April, Howard signed a new five-year contract worth $50.69 million in new money through the 2026 season.

The pair first met in early 2018 at a Quest Diagnostics lab, where Howard asked her out on a date, the lawsuit reads. Early in their relationship, he told her he didn’t have any STDs, even showing his negative test results.

In 2019, Howard learned he had contracted genital herpes but didn’t tell the woman, according to the suit. Instead, he stood by his claim that he had been tested multiple times, without contracting any STDs.

“With knowledge of his incurable sexually transmitted disease and without disclosure, Defendant Howard continued to have unprotected sex with Plaintiff without informing her,” the lawsuit states.

After being tested in 2021, she discovered she had tested positive for the lifelong disease and knew Howard was the only person who “could have given her genital herpes”, according to the lawsuit.

Howard initially denied having herpes when she confronted him about the results – but eventually admitted knowing he had it and apologized for giving her the disease.

“Maaaaan you were told I was sorry I gave it to you,” he told her, according to the lawsuit. “But what can I do now?” The damage is done. You keep talking about it like it’s gonna change something. Like yo a** can’t move on.

Following her diagnosis, the woman said Howard made her feel she had no choice but to have sex with him because she could pass the disease on to someone else , according to the lawsuit.

“Frightened, confused and never wanting to do what Defendant Howard did to her to someone else, Plaintiff continued to have sex with Defendant Howard,” the lawsuit reveals.

Edwards Pottinger LLC, the attorney’s office representing the woman, did not immediately respond to comments.

“Salacious and outrageous allegations”

Heitner Legal, the law firm representing Howard, filed its motion Friday to dismiss the lawsuit.

As well as citing examples of harassment, her lawyers say the woman was required to include her name in the lawsuit – and failure to do so could result in the lawsuit being thrown out.

His lawyers used Cleveland Browns quarterback Deshaun Watson as an example, saying he had faced 24 sexual assault complaints from numerous anonymous victims and had been told by several judges that they had to include their names in order to continue the prosecution.

Several screenshots of text messages between Howard and the woman were also included in the motion, which his lawyers used to show that she was stalking him, according to the motion. Under the law, a person can remain anonymous if there is a risk that they will suffer harm by being revealed.

The petition used the messages to show that Howard would face “risk of retaliation from the plaintiff [the woman]”, and not the reverse.

According to his lawyers, a series of texts said:

Howard: “Stop coming to my crib”

The woman: “Keep me from coming…Cry baby a**b****”

Howard: “Bet”

The woman: “I’m going to come to your work tomorrow and cause a whole scene… Look”

This story was originally published October 27, 2022 9:47 p.m.

The Miami Herald’s real-time reporter Devoun Cetoute covers breaking news, the coronavirus pandemic in Florida and the overall mission. He graduated from the University of Florida and grew up in Miami. Theme parks, movies, and cars are on his mind both inside and outside the office.

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Daniel Oyefusi covers the Dolphins for the Miami Herald. A native of Towson, Maryland, he graduated from the University of Maryland: College Park. He previously covered the Ravens for The Baltimore Sun.

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