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Monday, April 22, 2024
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Michael Irvin Files Third Lawsuit Against Marriott, Video Released

  • The move to dismiss case comes after Irvin's legal obtained footage of alleged incident with a hotel employee.
  • The lawsuit was refiled in a Arizona state court on Tuesday.
Michael Irvin
Matthew Emmons-USA TODAY Sports

Michael Irvin’s legal pursuit of Marriott is heading to yet another venue.

Hours after the suspended NFL Network analyst dropped his $100 million lawsuit against the hotel chain in a Texas federal court, his lawyer announced a third lawsuit had been filed — seeking an unspecified amount — regarding the incident of alleged misconduct reported by a Phoenix hotel employee. 

At a Tuesday news conference, attorney Levi McCathern showed video footage of the Feb. 5 encounter outside a bar area of the Renaissance Phoenix Downtown Hotel to the public for the first time. 

McCathern obtained the footage after about a month of legal wrangling both in Texas state and federal courts.

“They’ve spent tens of thousands of dollars, at a minimum, to keep you all from seeing this tape,” McCathern said. “Well, if it’s so good for a Marriott, why are they doing that? Because they know that any rational person can watch this and see this is either a setup or an after-the-fact invention.”

The Hall of Fame receiver was evicted from the hotel and suspended from NFL Network in the aftermath of the misconduct allegation. No criminal charges have been filed against Irvin. 

“I am so thankful for this video because without it, I just don’t know where this would have gone,” Irvin said.

The new lawsuit filed in a Maricopa County court not only includes Marriott, but adds Renaissance Hotel Operating Company and four employees — including the unnamed accuser — as defendants. This latest suit seeks unspecified monetary damages.

“What was most important for me was to find out that I’m OK,” Irvin said. “I want to make sure I’m OK for my family and everything, so I just wanted to see it. Whether I work again or not, I don’t know. I don’t know what’ll happen with all of that. But what I had to know was what are we talking about [is Marriott is] saying I assaulted [the employee].

“I hope it shows … the truth. Like we used to say when we played football, ‘the eye in the sky don’t tell no lie.'”

The 16-page complaint alleges the accuser made “false and defamatory statements about Mr. Irvin when she complained to her manager” on Feb. 6.

“Through [the defendants’] improper conduct described above, they intentionally interfered with Mr. Irvin’s valuable business expectancies,” the new lawsuit states. “[The defendants] improperly took direct measures to scar Mr. Irvin’s reputation, which had a direct and detrimental effect on his livelihood, business relationships, and prospective engagements and caused him humiliation and emotional distress. Defendants accomplished this result through unfair and wrongful means.”

In a news conference last week, Irvin compared Marriott’s actions that led him to be taken off NFL Network along with a scheduled appearance on ESPN’s “First Take” the Friday before the Super Bowl to lynching.

A Marriott spokesperson declined comment.

An NFL Network spokesperson also declined to comment. McCathern said he was told the NFL reviewed the footage before it was released publicly on Tuesday.

In a Friday filing, Marriott detailed specific allegations against Irvin for the first time. 

“The evidence will show that Marriott, the hotel, and the victim did nothing wrong and certainly did not defame Irvin or interfere with his NFL contract,” Marriott’s lawyers wrote. 

At the start of the interaction, Marriott’s lawyers stated Irvin “stated that [the female hotel employee] was attractive and reached out to shake her hand, asked her name and introduced himself as ‘Michael.’” Moments later, Marriott alleged Irvin “reached out and touched the Victim’s arm during this conversation without her consent, causing her to step back, becoming visibly uncomfortable.”

“Irvin then asked the victim whether she knew anything about having a ‘big Black man inside of [her],’” the filing continued. “Taken aback by Irvin’s comments, the Victim responded that his comments were inappropriate, and she did not wish to discuss it further. Irvin then attempted to grab the Victim’s hand again and said he was ‘sorry if he brought up bad memories’ for her. The Victim pulled her hand away and tried to back away from Irvin as he continued to move towards her.” 

Marriott said in its filing that Irvin “appeared to be visibly intoxicated” when he arrived at the hotel on the evening of Feb. 5.

Two other hotel employees saw the interaction, according to Marriott. One employee “observed that Irvin was slurring his words and acting like he was under the influence.” At the urging of her manager, the employee filed a complaint to the hotel’s security department. 

Irvin was initially granted access to the video when the lawsuit was originally filed in a Texas state court before Marriott successfully removed the case to a Texas federal court. McCathern again sought — and was granted — an emergency discovery motion for footage of the interaction. 

McCathern viewed the footage last week but was unable to obtain a copy of the footage until Friday. On Tuesday, Marriott was slated to provide McCathern with “hard drives containing all video data the Hotel has been able to pull from its CCTV video systems.”

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