SAN DIEGO, February 2 4, 2014 – No one ever likes to eat their words in public, but sometimes it’s better to hold your nose and choke them down instead of writing a big tasty check.
Professional football player Mario Williams and his former fiancée, Erin Marzouki, have agreed to a settlement in Williams’ lawsuit seeking to recover his 10.04-carat engagement ring from Marzouki.
In a joint statement issued last week and signed by both parties, Buffalo Bills defensive lineman Williams and Marzouki have reached an amicable settlement in the lawsuit, the terms of which are confidential.
“Mr. Williams apologizes for initiating the lawsuit,” the statement said. “Ms. Marzouki did not deserve the media backlash she received as a result of this lawsuit, because it in no way describes her good character. Mr. Williams believes that Ms. Marzouki is a great person and he regrets how their engagement ended.”
Marzouki, the statement continued, “regrets that, after the lawsuit was filed, certain text messages were released by her lawyer without her knowledge that were taken out of context by the media. Ms. Marzouki believes that the media reports do not reflect the good character of Mr. Williams.”
In a column for Communities in June 2013, we reported that Williams, the single highest paid defensive player in football with a six year, $100-million contract, filed a lawsuit against his ex-fiancée Erin Marzouki in Harris County Court, Houston in May to get back the engagement ring he gave her before she kissed him off.
Williams claimed in his lawsuit that Marzouki ended the relationship less than a year after she accepted the $785,000 engagement ring but never intended to become his wife. The complaint also accused Williams’ ex-fiancee of running up $108,000 of charges on his credit card and accepting additional luxury gifts from him in excess of $230,000.
Marzouki filed a countersuit calling Williams’ claims “ridiculous” and “patently false,” pointing the finger at Williams for breaking off the engagement.
As I wrote back in June when the lawsuit came to light, Williams was idiotic from the start. Williams never really wanted the ring back. The amount he paid might be eye-popping to you and me, but it was nothing to him. These emotional motivations are what drive cases into court and allow them to drag on for years, with a big emotional and financial price tag.
Williams always intended to punish Marzouki for humiliating him. Calling out a woman for being a gold-digging “B” in such a public way probably doesn’t carry the stigma it did before TV shows like “Millionaire Matchmaker.”
Marzouki was a smart cookie. She made a good decision getting herself the right attorney who not only knew the law, but who had success with a similar case.
It turns out that Houston lawyer Tony Buzbee won a similar settlement two years ago when a prominent surgeon accused his ex-fiancee of virtually the same thing Williams accused Marzouki of doing.
As reported in the Houston Chronicle at the time, Dr. Craig Fisher also issued a similar written apology to Nichole Johnson:
“I apologize for filing a lawsuit against Nichole Johnson,” the statement reads. “It was a big mistake on my part. I was wrong and should have never done it. I am immediately dropping the case and will pay Nichole $100,000 as attorney’s fees. I also want to thank Nichole’s attorneys for helping me understand the mistake I made. Again, I am sorry. I will have no further comment.”
Buzbee told the Chronicle Fischer had no choice but to drop the lawsuit, given that he had “accused her (Johnson) of being a charlatan who was out to get (his) money, and all that was a flat-out lie.”
Fischer bought Johnson a 4.06-carat ring worth $73,000 and wanted it back; he also had demanded that Johnson pay back $75,000 from a shared bank account and apartment lease.
“He jumped into the deep end of the pool and couldn’t swim,” Buzbee said. “It’s funny that he filed a lawsuit against her and initiated all of this, and he ended up having to pay her for doing it.”
There are three lessons to be learned here. First, don’t buy an expensive engagement ring and then ever expect to get it back if things go wrong; the law isn’t on your side here. Second, don’t trash talk your ex in public. Third and most important, when you hire an attorney, hire one with experience successfully handling your kind of case.
Myra Chack Fleischer serves as Lead Counsel for Fleischer & Ravreby in Carlsbad, California with a focus on divorce, property, custody and support, settlement agreements, mediation, asset division and family law appeals. Read more Legally Speaking in Communities at Washington Times. Follow Myra on Twitter: @LawyerMyra. Fleischer can be reached via Google +
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