Sources: Warriors Settle Sex Harrassment Suits
by Irv Soonachan / @SidelineOB
SLAMonline has learned the Golden State Warriors have made out-of-court settlements this week in two sexual harassment claims against the team.
Former Director of Community Relations Erika Smith and former dance team director Susan Hovey have each agreed to out-of-court settlements with the Warriors in their respective cases. Terms of the agreements were not disclosed.
Smith sued the team in December alleging that former Warriors guard Monta Ellis sent her 61 unwanted text messages in December 2010, including a photo of his genitals. Her complaint also alleges she was fired after informing team officials that a local newspaper reporter had questioned her about receiving messages from Ellis.
The settlement comes less than five months after the team issued a public response to Smith’s suit stating they would “vigorously defend the reputation of the Warriors organization in the courts.” The team also claimed in its response that Smith’s interactions with Ellis were consensual.
The Warriors avoided another potential lawsuit by agreeing to an out of court settlement with Hovey, who had accused a team executive of sending suggestive emails and other inappropriate communications. Hovey left the Warriors prior to last season for a similar role with the Detroit Pistons.
The settlements with Hovey and Smith bring the total to at least four sexual harassment claims settled out of court by the Warriors since owner Joe Lacob completed his purchase of the team in November 2010.
The Warriors have not yet responded to requests for comment. Hovey and Smith declined to comment.
NOTE: Shortly after this story was published, a Warriors spokesperson responded to SLAM with an email confirming that Erika Smith had dismissed her case against the team and by issuing the following statement on Susan Hovey: “The parties have amicably resolved any issues arising from Employee’s employment with the Company.”