Michael Irvin’s legal pursuit of Marriott goes to another place.
Hours after the suspended NFL Network analyst dropped his $100 million lawsuit against the hotel chain in a Texas federal court, his attorney announced that a third lawsuit has been filed — seeking an unspecified amount – in relation to the incident of alleged misconduct reported by a Phoenix hotel worker.
At a news conference Tuesday, attorney Levi McCathern released 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 litigation in both Texas state and federal courts.
“They spent at least tens of thousands of dollars preventing you all from seeing this tape,” McCathern said. “Well, if it’s that good for a Marriott, why are they doing it? Because they know that any sane person can watch this and see that this is either a staging or an afterthought.”
The Hall of Famer recipient was evicted from the hotel and suspended from the NFL Network after allegations of misconduct. No criminal charges have been filed against Irvin.
“I’m so thankful for this video because without it I just don’t know where it would have gone,” Irvin said.
The new lawsuit, filed in a Maricopa County court, includes not only Marriott but also Renaissance Hotel Operating Company and four employees – including the unnamed accuser – as defendants. This latest lawsuit seeks unspecified damages.
“The most important thing for me was to find out that I was okay,” Irvin said. “I want to make sure I’m okay with my family and everything, so I just wanted to see it. I don’t know if I’m going to work again or not. I don’t know what’s going to happen with all of this. But I had to know what we’re talking about [is Marriott is] say I attacked [the employee].
“I hope it shows… the truth. As we used to say playing football, ‘The eye in the sky tells no lie.’”
The 16-page complaint alleges the accuser made “false and defamatory statements about Mr. Irvin when she complained to her manager” on February 6.
“Through [the defendants’] By engaging in the improper conduct described above, they intentionally interfered with Mr. Irvin’s valuable business expectations,” the new lawsuit reads. “[The defendants] improperly took direct action to damage Mr. Irvin’s reputation, which directly and adversely affected his livelihood, business relationships and potential engagements and caused him humiliation and emotional distress. Defendants achieved that result through unfair and unlawful means.”
In a press conference last week, Irvin compared Marriott’s actions that led to his being removed from the NFL Network, along with a scheduled appearance on ESPN’s “First Take” Friday before the Super Bowl, to lynching.
Messages left at Marriott were not returned immediately.
A spokesman for the NFL Network declined to comment. McCathern said he was told the NFL reviewed the footage before it was released publicly Tuesday.
In a filing filed Friday, Marriott listed 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 attorneys wrote.
Early in the interaction, Marriott’s attorneys stated that Irvin “said that [the female hotel employee] was attractive and reached out to shake her hand, asked her name and introduced himself as ‘Michael.’ touched the victim, which caused her to step back and become visibly uncomfortable.”
“Irvin then asked the victim if she knew anything about having a ‘big black man’ inside her [her],’” the file continued. “Surprised by Irvin’s comments, the victim replied that his comments were inappropriate and she did not want to discuss them further. Irvin then tried to grab the victim’s hand again and said he was sorry if he was bringing up bad memories for her. The victim pulled her hand away and attempted to pull away from Irvin as he continued to move toward her.”
Marriott said in his filing that Irvin “appeared to be visibly drunk” when he arrived at the hotel on the evening of February 5.
According to Marriott, two other hotel employees saw the interaction. One employee “observed Irvin slurring his words and pretending to be under the influence.” At the urging of her manager, the employee filed a complaint with 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 remanded the case to a Texas federal court. McCathern re-applied – and was granted – an emergency request to discover footage of the interaction.
McCathern viewed the footage last week but was unable to receive it a copy of the footage see you on Friday. On TuesdayMarriott was to provide McCathern with “hard drives containing all of the video data that the hotel could retrieve from its CCTV video systems.”