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Michael Irvin files lawsuit against Marriott, unidentified woman over misconduct claims

Michael Irvin
Posted at 10:38 PM, Mar 14, 2023

PHOENIX — Former NFL star Michael Irvin has filed a defamation lawsuit against a “Jane Doe” and Marriott International Inc., alleging that a "false" sexual misconduct claim on February 5 caused him to be kicked out of the Renaissance Phoenix Downtown Hotel hotel and removed from the NFL Network's Super Bowl LVII week coverage.

Mariott claims in a lawsuit that Irvin asked a female employee inappropriate sexual questions that made the worker uncomfortable. Irvin has insisted he did nothing wrong during the encounter with the woman and he went to his room alone that night. He has said there was no inappropriate physical contact.

Several witnesses have come forward since the accusations and said that the encounter in the lobby looked cordial and that they saw no wrongdoing.

"Here's the truth," says Michael Irvin, NFL Hall of Famer.

Michael Irvin referred to the newly released surveillance video from the night of the alleged incident, which shows the interaction between him and a female employee, during his stay at the Renaissance Phoenix Downtown Hotel.

It's an interaction that Marriott International refers to in court filings as: "unwelcome sexual advances."

"The one thing that is really clear... this is not a sexual assault, this isn't sexual harassment, this isn't sexual misconduct," said Levi McCathern, Irvin's attorney.

Irvin's attorney made that remark during a news conference Tuesday, following the announcement of their refiling of a $100 million defamation lawsuit against Marriott in Arizona.

Irvin and his attorney broke down the video, which has no audio, and point out another employee who they say looks visibly upset by the interaction.

"She continues talking to Michael, back over her shoulder like, happily, as she's leaving, and she seems to be in a very good mood... until this man in the vest, you'll see, comes up to her and grabs her," said McCathern.

A Valley attorney, not involved in this specific case, gave ABC15 some perspective.

"The video is just a piece of the puzzle and unfortunately, that piece of the puzzle doesn't have sound and it's somewhat obstructed. So, at the end of the day, we're going to have to rely on witness testimony and a jury will have to evaluate the credibility of witnesses and come to a decision," said Jason D. Lamm, a Phoenix attorney.

Lamm tells us this case is based on the interpretation of fact.

Marriott stated in their protective order filing that inappropriate comments were made, even after the conversation ended.

Irvin, on the other hand, has denied saying anything sexual. He was pulled from Super Bowl coverage after the allegations came to light.

His lawsuit claims the Dallas Cowboys legend wants to clear his name and begin the process of trying to restore his reputation.

"The plaintiff has a duty to mitigate damages. I would expect that Marriott would defend not only the fact that there was no defamation that occurred but also, by bringing this lawsuit, it may have actually caused more publicity or notoriety and more precisely, an impact on Michael Irvin's career," said Attorney Lamm.