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Rick Stroud, Greg Auman and Matt Baker

Legal expert: Jameis Winston lawsuit could last into 2018



Now that Jameis Winston's accuser and Florida State have settled a Title IX lawsuit, expect attention to turn to the ongoing civil suit (and countersuit) between Winston and Zephyrhills' Erica Kinsman.

That became obvious Thursday, when one of Kinsman's attorneys confirmed that her legal team subpoenaed the investigations the Bucs and NFL as they vetted the former Florida State star quarterback before the 2015 draft.

Even though a U.S. District Court trial is set for March 2017 in Orlando, a Stetson University law professor said that date seems highly unlikely.

More like March 2018 -- maybe.

"It's not going to go into (next) March," said Charles H. Rose III, the director of Stetson's Center for Excellence in Advocacy. "Civil litigation rarely, if ever, moves that quickly."

That's because the discovery phase can be long and ugly; Rose compared it to the Wild West.

Both sides will argue over what is known and what is in dispute. Then they'll argue over what information is discoverable and what information is not. One side will probably ask for more time. The other side might, too. All of this pushes back a trial date.

A caveat here: This case has been unpredictable since it became public in November 2013. It has been filled with surprises (from all sides), and any predictions are just that: Predictions. It's still possible a settlement is reached. A mediation session is scheduled for July 13, which will likely be a few weeks before the Bucs open training camp.

That said, Rose expects the case to go to trial.  That means the case could continue not only through the Bucs' upcoming year but into the 2017 season, too.

[Last modified: Friday, January 29, 2016 9:21am]


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