Judge Dismisses One of Jameis Winston’s Alleged Rape Counterclaims, Upholds Defamation Claim

Tampa Bay Buccaneers quarterback Jameis Winston (3) runs off the field at the end of the first half against the Tennessee Titans at Raymond James Stadium. (Photo: Kim Klement, USA TODAY Sports)
Tampa Bay Buccaneers quarterback Jameis Winston (3) runs off the field at the end of the first half against the Tennessee Titans at Raymond James Stadium.
(Photo: Kim Klement, USA TODAY Sports)

A federal judge has dismissed one of Jameis Winston’s counterclaims against Erica Kinsman and declined to dismiss another for defamation in an ongoing lawsuit stemming from the quarterback’s alleged rape of the former Florida State student in 2012.

In a ruling issued Tuesday, U.S. District Court Judge Anne C. Conway denied Kinsman’s motion to dismiss Winston’s claim of defamation but granted one to dismiss his claim of tortious interference.

“(T)he Court rejects Mr. Winston’s argument that his tortious interference count is legally independent from his defamation claims,” Conway wrote. “The tortious interference count is based squarely on the alleged defamatory statements. Throughout the tortious interference count, Mr. Winston refers repeatedly to the ‘False Statements,’ and the allegations in that count make abundantly clear that he contends it is the ‘False Statements’ that have injured his professional reputation and his prospective business relationships.

“In reality, the alleged harms about which Mr. Winston complains in his tortious interference count are consequences flowing from the alleged defamatory statements.”

Kinsman first filed a lawsuit alleging rape, sexual battery, assault, false imprisonment and intentional infliction of emotional distress arising out of forcible rape in state court in April. Winston later removed that to federal court and was denied a motion to transfer the case to federal court in Tallahassee. It will be heard in U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Florida, with a trial set for May 2017.

Winston first filed his answer and counterclaim to Kinsman’s complaint in May, nine days after he was drafted first overall by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Winston’s counterclaim states the accusation against him caused him to lose lucrative endorsement deals and to accept “lesser value” endorsement deals that would have been more valuable if not for the accusation.

Conway denied a motion from Kinsman to dismiss Winston’s claim of defamation, saying that his counterclaim is “inextricably intertwined” with Kinsman’s complaint and therefore not barred by a two-year time limit for defamation claims.

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SOURCE: USA Today – Rachel Axon

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