A woman who dated Tiger Woods for six years is asking for “over $30,000,000” after the golf legend kicked her out of his lavish Florida home.
Erica Herman, who once managed a restaurant Woods owns in Jupiter, began a relationship with Woods in 2017 and moved into the Hobe Sound mansion that same year, according to a lawsuit filed in Martin County Circuit Court. Herman, 39, claims in the lawsuit that Woods agreed to a five-year “verbal lease” but allegedly breached it when the relationship ended last October.
“Specifically, by deception, defendant’s agents convinced plaintiff to pack a suitcase for a short vacation and, when she arrived at the airport, told her she had been locked out of her residence, in violation of the oral lease agreement and in violation of Florida’s law, Herman’s lawsuit states. “They then informed her that she was not allowed to return to her residence and without legal assistance to help [sic] her in this emotional moment, they used a lawyer to confront her with proposals to resolve the offense they were in the middle of committing.”
In the Oct. 26, 2022 filing, which The Daily Beast reviewed along with a number of others, which culminated in a March 6 request by Herman to invalidate a 2017 nondisclosure agreement between her and Woods, Herman says Woods’ representatives “attempted to justify their unlawful conduct in paying for a hotel room and certain expenses for a short period of time, after locking the plaintiff out of her home and scaring her away from returning.”
Ever since, Herman — who says in her filings that she “performed valuable services” while living with Woods — claims she has been denied access to the estate, where Woods remains. Her personal belongings have been removed from the property, according to Herman, whose lawsuit further accuses Woods and his “agents” of “misappropriating more than $40,000 in cash belonging to her and making outrageous and defamatory allegations about how she obtained the money .”
The lawsuit was first reported by TMZ.
In December 2022, Woods and his Jupiter Island Irrevocable Homestead Trust, which technically owns the mansion, filed a motion to dismiss Herman’s case, arguing that after Woods “recently ended the relationship, Mrs. Herman was informed that she was no longer Welcome to Bolig.”
“In 2017, after Mr. Woods and Mrs. Herman began a relationship, Mr. Herman began living in the Residence as Mr. Woods’ invited guest,” the motion states. “Mr. Woods and Mrs. Herman never married. Furthermore, neither Mr. Woods nor the Trustee of Trust ever transferred any interest in the residence to Mrs. Herman.”
It goes on to describe Herman’s claims as “thinly camouflaged claims arising out of disputes directly between Mrs. Herman and Mr. Woods,” and argues that the NDA Herman signed requires any disputes to be settled in arbitration. By suing Woods in court, Herman is “wrongfully seeking to exploit a payment from Mr. Woods in an amount that no arbitral forum would ever award,” Woods’ motion states.
“Such gamesmanship should not be tolerated,” it said.
On Monday, Herman filed a new complaint in Martin County, calling the NDA, which Woods’ team insists is still in place, “invalid and unenforceable,” citing in part the federal Speak Out Act, which prevents enforcement of NDAs in cases of sexual abuse or harassment. At the same time, the filing, which does not include any sexual allegations, admits that the issues at stake “are not legally certain” and asks the court to rule on certain crucial details. Herman says she needs to know what she is allowed to say about her relationship with Woods, and to whom.
Specifically, the filing asks the judge to define the limits of Herman’s “freedom of disclosure,” including her own experiences with Woods, those of her family members, “photographs and recordings of herself and her family members” and “information responding to statements that [Woods] has made or published about her or others to prove that those statements are false or misleading.”
Angela Reddock-Wright, an employment attorney and mediator in Los Angeles who is not involved in the case, said the NDA means we won’t know exactly why Herman filed the Speak Out Act until, and unless, a judge voids the agreement.
“We don’t know for sure what she might be alleging here,” Reddock-Wright told The Daily Beast. “Presumably she might be trying to make some kind of connection.”
In recent years, courts have begun to reconsider the validity of NDAs, even lengthy ones, especially in cases involving any form of sexual assault, according to Reddock-Wright. She said Herman, by trying to undo the NDA, appears to be seeking the right terms to file a “larger set of claims” against Woods. And while Woods’ lawyers were obligated to file a response to Herman’s motion to invalidate the NDA, Reddock-Wright said it’s highly likely there’s a behind-the-scenes effort “to resolve this quietly.”
Woods turned pro in 1996 at age 20, and maintained a polished image for years before an ugly public divorce amid accusations of infidelity, sex addiction treatment and a DUI arrest. In 2010, porn star Joslyn James released text messages she said Woods sent her while they were together, including one that read: “You’re my fucking whore. Stay down while I choke you and fuck that ass that I own.”
Attorneys for Herman and Woods did not immediately respond to The Daily Beast’s request for comment Thursday.