Free-agent receiver Antonio Brown continues to face a civil claim of sexual assault and rape. As that case moves toward a trial set for December 2021, the lawyers representing the lawyers representing the plaintiff are looking for evidence to support the claims.
As part of the broad and important “discovery” process that unfolds in every civil case, the lawyers representing Britney Taylor have issued proposed subpoenas to Brown’s various NFL teams for information regarding his employment. The subpoenas target “correspondence, memoranda, communications, agreements, messages or other written documentation” in the possession, custody, or control of the Buccaneers, Steelers, Patriots, Raiders, and NFL Properties regarding Brown. Via Matt Baker of the Tampa Bay Times, the presiding judge recently ruled that the subpoenas may be served against the league, the Bucs, the Patriots, and the Raiders. As to the Steelers, the judge concluded that the request is “overbroad and beyond the scope of relevant discovery.”
The ruling came in response to an objection from Brown’s lawyers. The individual teams and the league will have separate rights to oppose the requests. From a P.R. perspective, however, any effort to obstruct the investigation being conducted within the confines of the pending litigation against Brown could invite criticism.
It’s unclear whether Taylor’s lawyers are looking for documents that would shed light on Brown’s potential liability or his earnings or something else potentially relevant to the claims. The standard for permissible discovery is very broad; any request reasonably calculated to lead to the discovery of admissible evidence is fair game.
Regardless of any documents obtained from the league or the Bucs, Patriots, or Raiders, the bulk of the discovery information will come during the deposition testimony of Brown. If he conducts himself like he did in multiple depositions in the lawsuit arising from alleged damage to a luxury apartment in Miami, the case filed by Taylor will not go well for Brown.