Posted by Ryan Wilson
After two consecutive offseasons that resulted in women accusing Ben Roethlisberger of sexual assault, the Steelers franchise quarterback served a four-game suspension to start the 2010 season for violating the league's personal conduct policy, and spent the ensuing months trying to salvage his image.
While the Steelers' offseason wasn't particularly quiet, we didn't hear a peep from Big Ben until late July … when he married Ashley Harlan.
Roethlisberger appears to have matured in recent months, but that doesn't mean his past may not catch up to him. The Nevada Supreme Court decided Thursday that a civil suit accusing Roethlisberger of sexual assault can be tried in the county where it was originally filed.
PFT head honcho and attorney Mike Florio explains:
"It means that the case will finally proceed, and that it will do so in the county in which the plaintiff’s lawyer chose to file the case. Fights over forum selection are common in civil suits. The lawyer representing the plaintiff, when faced with a choice of possible venues, picks the one that the lawyer believes will be the kindest to the plaintiff. If the lawyer for the defendant(s) believes that another possible forum exists that would be less favorable to the plaintiff, the lawyer for the defendant(s) sometimes tries to move the case there."
The lawsuit stems from an August 2009 incident when a 33-year-old woman working at Harrah's Lake Tahoe while Roethlisberger was staying there during a celebrity golf tournament, accused the Steelers QB of sexually assaulting her.
"We're delighted with the court's ruling and look forward to proceeding with the case in 2nd Judicial District Court," the woman's lawyer, Cal Dunlap, told the Associated Press when contacted by telephone.
David Cornwell, one of Roethlisberger's attorneys, said the Supreme Court ruling "does not affect the likely outcome of this case." And in an emailed statement to the AP, Cornwell said after considering the woman's own words, "the jury will conclude that Ben has been falsely accused."
Either way, as Florio points out, it might be in Roethlisberger's best interests to settle the case before it gets to court if for no other reason than to put the incident behind him and get on with his life.
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