Former Team Psychologist Settles Lawsuit Against the Spurs and Joshua Primo
A sports psychologist who filed a lawsuit this month against the San Antonio Spurs and Joshua Primo, a former player for the team, accusing him of repeatedly exposing himself to her during treatment sessions while she worked for the team, has dropped her case, according to her lawyer.
“All claims against all parties are settled,” said Tony Buzbee, a lawyer who represents the psychologist, Dr. Hillary Cauthen.
A criminal investigation into Dr. Cauthen’s accusations against Primo is ongoing, according to a spokeswoman for the sheriff’s office in Bexar County, Texas, where San Antonio is. Dr. Cauthen provided a statement to police on Nov. 3, the day her lawsuit was filed.
Dr. Cauthen said in her civil complaint that Primo, 19, exposed his genitals to her nine times after she began working with him in 2021. She reported Primo’s conduct to members of the Spurs organization, including General Manager Brian Wright, in early 2022, but she said in the complaint that the team did not take appropriate steps to protect her or others and instead diminished her role with the team.
Primo has denied Dr. Cauthen’s accusations through his lawyer, William J. Briggs II. In a statement earlier this month, Briggs said that Primo “never intentionally exposed himself” to Dr. Cauthen or any other person. He called her claims “either a complete fabrication, a gross embellishment or utter fantasy.”
The Spurs said in a statement Thursday that they would work with Dr. Cauthen and other experts to “review and improve our workplace processes and procedures.”
“The situation regarding Josh Primo is a matter we take seriously,” the team said. “Since learning of the allegations, we have taken, and are taking, measures to ensure that all parties involved are treated with dignity and respect. We know we owe that to Dr. Cauthen, our players, our staff and our community.”
The Spurs cut Primo, whom they selected with the No. 12 pick in the 2021 N.B.A. draft, in late October, several days before the complaint against him was made public — and just two weeks after the team exercised the third-year option in his contract, which guaranteed his $4.3 million salary for the 2023-24 season.
At a news conference on Nov. 3, Buzbee said that he and Dr. Cauthen had been trying to resolve the issue privately and wanted the Spurs to put in place formal protocols for handling complaints like Dr. Cauthen’s. But while the team promised to conduct an investigation, it did not take immediate steps to discipline Primo or ensure that she did not have to interact with him, Dr. Cauthen said.
“It took the Spurs 10 months to do the right thing,” Dr. Cauthen said at the time. “That’s too long.”
Dr. Cauthen, who co-owns an Austin-based performance and psychological services company, said she was not retained by the Spurs when her contract came up for renewal in August.
Gregg Popovich, the Spurs’ longtime coach, was asked about Dr. Cauthen’s lawsuit at a news conference on Nov. 4 and said the matter was being taken “very seriously.”
Popovich added: “I’m absolutely confident in the men and women on the managerial staff that dealt and are dealing with this, did so purposefully, efficiently, promptly, and did it with the utmost care for everybody concerned — the accuser, the accused, people in the organization — to make sure that everybody still felt comfortable and safe.”
Dr. Cauthen’s case against the Spurs was dismissed with prejudice, which means she cannot refile it, according to court records. The Bexar County clerk’s office did not yet have available a record of the resolution of her claims against Primo.