The Legal Battles of Antonio Brown
As many readers have likely already heard, Antonio Brown, star football player most recently employed by the New England Patriots, was sued in a civil lawsuit filed in Florida Federal Court September 10, 2019 by his former personal trainer and world-class gymnast, Britney Taylor. Ms. Taylor’s lawsuit alleges that Antonio Brown sexually assaulted her twice while the two were together for training sessions in June of 2017 and then forcibly raped her in May of 2018.
The Alleged Sexual Assaults
The first incident Ms. Taylor alleges occurred when Brown exposed himself and kissed her without her consent. The second instance is said to have occurred later that same month, when Brown allegedly began masturbating near Ms. Taylor and then ejaculated on her back. The lawsuit claims that Ms. Taylor was not aware of Brown masturbating in here presence, but later “realized what had occurred when she felt a wet spot soak through her clothing” and then later, Brown sent Ms. Taylor “astonishingly profane and angry text messages” bragging about the incident to her. Ms. Taylor is said to have terminated their working relationship with Brown as a result of those incidents.
Several months later, after having received assurances from Brown that his sexual advances would cease, Ms. Taylor once again agreed to train Brown. However, on May 20, 2018, Ms. Taylor alleges that Brown cornered her, “forced her down onto a bed, pushed her face into the mattress, and forcible raped her.”
This is not a criminal case, and it appears as though Ms. Taylor did not report the alleged rape to police nor sought to pursue criminal charges against Brown. Rather, these are civil claims brought by Ms. Taylor seeking to recover monetary compensation from Brown for the physical, emotional, and psychological injuries she is alleged to have suffered. Her lawsuit alleges five (5) separate causes of action (i.e. claims) against Brown, meaning she now has the burden to prove Brown’s conduct meets the required elements of each of the five (5) separate claims. Those claims are as follows: (I) Sexual Battery i.e. rape; (II) Battery; (III) Intentional Infliction of Emotional Distress; (IV) False Imprisonment; (V) Invasion of Privacy.
According to Brown’s lawyer, Darren Heitner “Mr. Brown denies each and every allegation in the lawsuit… He will pursue all legal remedies to not only clear his name but to also protect other professional athletes against false accusations.” The lawsuit will proceed through the court system until either the two parties reach a settlement or the case reaches a trial. In either event, it appears as though Antonio Brown’s future in the NFL is seriously in doubt.
As a result of Brown’s off-field conduct, the New England Patriots decided to release Brown. When the Patriots released him, the four-time All-Pro player had played just one game for the team after he was signed as a free agent on Sept. 9, just as the NFL season was starting. The Patriots did not give a reason for releasing Brown. But the decision followed a report in Sports Illustrated quoting another woman as saying that Brown recently sent her what she described as intimidating text messages after she accused him of making an unwanted sexual advance.
Brown’s defense strategy seems to be alleging that any sexual contact between Ms. Taylor and Mr. Brown was consensual. Brown claims the two had an ongoing sexual relationship and therefore Brown continues to deny any wrongdoing. However, aside from Ms. Taylor’s lawsuit, Brown continues to face several other legal battles concerning property damage, breach of contract, and wrongful termination claims, among others.
As we continue to monitor Brown’s ongoing legal battles, it is important to note that in civil lawsuits the burden of proof is lower than that required for criminal cases. In a civil lawsuit, a Plaintiff is not required to prove its case “beyond a reasonable doubt” but rather must prove its case by a preponderance of the evidence or as Illinois courts require, the proposition on which he has the burden of proof is more “probably true than not true.”
If you have any questions regarding the burden of proof and its applicability to your potential lawsuit, contact the attorneys at Ball & McCann, P.C., as we have a proven track record of successfully litigating civil cases to a favorable outcome for our clients.