Michael Irvin Refiles Marriott Defamation Lawsuit in Arizona, Sues Accuser

Irvin says he was monitored for symptoms of chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE) after he was accused of assaulting a woman at a hotel

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Lawyers representing Michael Irvin said on Monday they withdrew his Collin County $100 million defamation lawsuit against Marriott Hotels and immediately refiled the case in Arizona adding new defendants, including his accuser. The former Dallas Cowboys wide receiver also said Tuesday he was monitored for CTE symptoms after being accused of assault.

Irvin's legal team filed the original defamation lawsuit against Marriott International after he was sidelined from Super Bowl duties as a sports commentator in the wake of an allegation of misconduct from a hotel employee in Phoenix. Irvin's attorney said Tuesday they voluntarily dismissed the Collin County lawsuit without prejudice on Monday and immediately refiled the case in Arizona.

Irvin's attorney, Levi McCathern, said Tuesday that the original lawsuit didn't name all of the parties involved and that now that more information has been learned it made more sense to file the lawsuit in Arizona. McCathern said the lawsuit again includes Marriott Hotels but adds the company that runs the hotel in Phoenix, Renaissance Hotel Operating, along with three named individuals and the complainant identified as "Jane Doe."

McCathern also played a video Tuesday obtained from the hotel that he said showed Irvin interacting with an employee for less than two minutes in an open area outside the bar. Of the interaction, McCathern said the woman appeared to be "happy as a lark" and questioned why another employee nearby appeared frustrated by her interaction with the former NFL player.

The video did not contain any audio, so it's unclear what the two said during their interaction.

Marriott Renaissance Phoenix Downtown Hotel
Surveillance video from Marriott showing an interaction between Michael Irvin and an employee on Feb. 5, 2023. The woman, who is listed as "Jane Doe" in the lawsuit, has been blurred in the photo to protect her identity.

Last week Marriott's attorneys wrote in a motion that Irvin "made unwelcome sexual advances against a female employee" who reported the behavior to her employer. Irvin said Tuesday he and the woman only talked about football and that he suggested she watch his show because it was a fun take on the game. He denied saying anything sexual.

"I don't speak like that. I've never spoken like that. I totally deny saying that," Irvin said Tuesday.

In his original lawsuit, Irvin said when he returned to the hotel he briefly greeted, shook hands and talked with several fans, including the woman, for a few minutes before going to his room alone. The original lawsuit claimed a hotel manager reported “false information” to the NFL, accusing Irvin of improper behavior toward a hotel employee. Irvin was then “shockingly woken up by a crew of security” and removed from the hotel “without any explanation or questions,” the lawsuit said.

McCathern was shown the video last week in the presence of Marriott's attorneys but complained he wasn't allowed to record the video or make copies. A federal judge in Dallas on Friday ordered Marriot to give Irvin's legal team video of the encounter "without modification." On Monday, Marriott gave Irvin's team a copy of that video and promised to produce any other relevant footage on Tuesday.

Irvin, on Tuesday, said he was thankful to have the video and the testimony shared last week from two witnesses and added that without it he's not sure where the allegation would have gone. Irvin also said the video provided him some relief because he was concerned about the serious nature of the allegation while having no recollection of any such encounter taking place.

"I played this game hard. I played this game physical. You guys know, we all worry about it. We see what happens with our brethren and we now know about CTE. How can you say I'm doing something and I don't know it and you tell me to go home? I couldn't go home. They put me in a hotel, other than in a Marriott, and they watch me and it's that for three days. Three days to make sure that I wasn't doing anything crazy, to make sure that I was OK mentally," Irvin said. "I'm just thankful. I'm so thankful for the witnesses. I'm thankful for this video because, without it, I just don't know where this would have gone."

Marriot International told NBC 5 Tuesday afternoon they will not be commenting at this time.

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