Leased, Not Owned | Marriott Calls An Audible on Michael Irvin’s Defamation Claims, Wants $100M Lawsuit Dismissed

Marriott hotels has responded to former Cowboys star receiver Michael Irvin $100 million defamation lawsuit, and it was not the answer he was looking for. They argued that it doesn’t own the Phoenix location in which the alleged incident took place on Feb. 5 between Irvin and a woman employee of the hotel in their lobby. It resulted in Irvin kicked out of the hotel being pulled off the air during Super Bowl week by NFL Network and ESPN.

Michael Irvin on set at NFL Network. (Photo: Getty Images)

Details From Monday’s Court Hearing

According to the Dallas Morning News, Marriott International filed a motion to District Judge Amos Mazzant III to dismiss lawsuit due to lack of personal jurisdiction. Marriott claimed that they lease their name to the property owner. They stated that the company only owns 21 of the 8,300 properties worldwide that is licensed, franchised, or operated under their name.

They also offered an alternative solution to have the case moved to Arizona since the alleged incident took place there. The company reason to have the case moved, if it is not dismissed, “for the convenience of the parties and witnesses.” They also mentioned “virtually all the relevant documents and physical evidence” are likely to be found in Arizona.

Marriott also stated in court that Irvin did make “harassing and inappropriate comments”. The woman initially claimed that Irvin physically touched or made contact with her.

Irvin’s attorney Levi McCathern requested footage and other evidence from the Phoenix Marriott, and District Court Judge Amos Mazzant III issued an order to Marriott last Friday to turn over the evidence by 5 p.m. Feb. 28. The football player filed a motion on Feb. 9 in state court that stated to Marriott to hand over any video it has on the alleged interaction between Irvin and the woman in Texas. Marriott responded by having the venue moved to federal court, and now the company is seeking to have the venue moved again. The motion to dismiss the case was part of a 10-page document in response to Irvin’s request for the video footage.

Innocent Until Proven Guilty

Irvin is still proclaiming his innocence and has provided proof in the defamation lawsuit he filed. The lawsuit stated at least one Marriott employee shared a narrative with the NFL of events to attempt to cancel him.

“Rash and thoughtless actions can have severe consequences. Marriott [parent company of Renaissance Hotels] apparently did not appreciate these simple truths when, in a rush to judgment, its employees and management inaccurately and inflammatorily accused Mr. Irvin of misconduct to the National Football League,” Irvin’s lawsuit stated.

He also continued to claimed that nothing physical took place besides a handshake, a 45-second conversation, and no one went to his room. Marriott had security escort Irvin off the property and banned him from all properties.

Irvin believes the video surveillance would exonerate him and that is why he requested it. Phoenix police told Dallas Morning News that there wasn’t any record of a criminal complaint was filed against Irvin and it was only reported to the hotel management.

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