Judge Deals Zion Williamson Setback in Lawsuit Motion
A judge in Miami ruled against Zion Williamson on Tuesday in an early setback for the NBA rookie—and Duke.
Circuit judge David C. Miller ruled that Williamson must answer questions from a request for admission filed last month by attorneys for his former marketing agent, Gina Ford.
Ford is suing Williamson for at least $100 million for breach of contract after the top draft pick ended his relationship with Ford’s agency, claiming that the contract he signed was illegal under North Carolina law. After terminating his relationship with Ford’s agency, Prime Sports, Williamson signed with CAA Sports.
The request for admission asked Williamson to answer questions on whether he, his mother, stepfather and other representatives took “money, benefits, favors or things of value” to sign with Duke and during Williamson’s one season at Duke, in 2018-19.
Williamson’s legal team filed a motion last Friday seeking to throw out the request, calling the questions "invasive," "irrelevant," and “nothing more than a fishing expedition.” The motion said that the questions in the request were an attempt to “harass” Williamson by embarrassing him and his former school in the media to “improperly gain settlement leverage.”
Duke has referred media to a statement released earlier this year, stating that the university had an independent investigation conducted which determined that Williamson was eligible to play for the school.
The decision means that Williamson must respond to the questions. There’s also the possibility, hinted at by Ford’s lawyers, that Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski could be deposed to comment in the trial as well.
Williamson’s legal team will reportedly appeal with Florida’s Third District Court of Appeals in an effort to get the request thrown out.