The legal posturing continues in the ongoing lawsuit and countersuit between former FSU quarterback Jameis Winston and former FSU student Erica Kinsman.
Kinsman is suing Winston for sexual battery, assault, false imprisonment and intentional infliction of emotional distress arising out of forcible rape. That suit was initially reported on May 1, 2015—the day after Winston was drafted by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers first overall—though it was originally served on April 16, 2015.
A week after news of the suit against Winston broke, on May 8, 2015, Winston answered Kinsman’s claims and filed a countersuit of his own alleging defamation, defamation per se and tortious interference with prospective business advantage.
The two sides continue to file motions and grievances, and the case is showing no signs of going away anytime soon.
Having removed the lawsuit from state to federal court on May 1, Winston, along with filing his answer on May 8, also motioned to change venue to the North District of Florida where he seeks to consolidate his case with Kinsman’s pending lawsuit against the FSU Board of Trustees.
Winston argued that the move to consolidate would be beneficial to Winston and FSU for the sake of efficiency, as it would help to avoid redundancies during the discovery process, as Winston argues that the vast majority of witnesses and evidence are located in the North District.
That led to a motion on May 26, 2015 by Kinsman’s legal team opposing the change of venue, disputing many of Winston's claims.
Winston’s lawyers then filed a motion for leave to file another document in support of his motion to change venue on May 29, 2015, given that Kinsman's filing in opposition to the change of venue presented new claims to which Winston's team wanted a chance to formally respond.
Unsurprisingly, Kinsman’s legal team filed a May 31, 2015 response in opposition to Winston’s motion to file another document in support of his motion to change venue (you can read both, below).
Moving to Dismiss
On Monday, June 1, 2015, Kinsman filed a motion to dismiss Winston's counterclaim and to strike portions of his answer to her lawsuit.
In the filing, Kinsman's attorneys argue that the statute of limitations for Winston's suit has expired, stating that his defamation claims are just "continued publication" of Kinsman's initial statements from December of 2012 and January of 2013 and that those claims are time-barred at two years. The filing also argues that Kinsman's statements are privileged under Florida defamation law and "constitute constitutionally protected speech" thus rendering her immune from suit.
The filing continues on to argue that Winston failed to support his claims of defamation and tortious interference and asks that the court dismiss the suit.
In addition to dismissing the suit, the motion argues that Winston's 17-page opening statement, referred to as "the preliminary statement" in his answer to Kinsman's lawsuit should be stricken along with four of his defenses.
The motion calls Winston's opening statement:
"...a transparent attempt to use court pleadings as a vehicle for immaterial and improper public attacks on Ms. Kinsman."
The move was unsurprising. Based on the filings that at times read as press releases, both sides are very aware of the media scrutiny this lawsuit is receiving.
When will this go to trial, if ever?
If Kinsman's lawsuit against the FSU Board of Trustees is any indication, these proceedings could drag on for years. The Kinsman/FSU suit had a status hearing on May 2, 2015 where an early trial date was set for the week of August 15, 2016, and that's provided the discovery process runs smoothly and doesn't result in any delays.
The scheduling order was revised on May 27, 2015 and the trial period was moved up a month to July 18, 2016.
There's also still the issue of FSU's pending motion to dismiss, which was made in early March and still hasn't been ruled on.
The case between Winston has yet to even receive a scheduling order as the two sides continue to jostle over venue and procedural matters. With more delays in the process seemingly inevitable, it's possible a trial may not be held until 2017.
You can read all of the most recent filings below, check back for more updates.
Correction: An earlier version of this story included an order by Middle District judge Gregory A. Presnell granting a change of venue. That was in regards to Kinsman's lawsuit against the FSU Board of Trustees and was included as an additional exhibit in Winston's motion to transfer venue to North District. A decision on Winston's motion to change venue in the Winston/Kinsman case is still pending.