February 11, 2024
According to the lawsuit, Jackson feared for his safety and the safety of his family as the result of his niece and nephew’s actions.
Bo Jackson, who remains the only athlete to ever be named to the NFL and MLB all-star teams, won $21 million in a civil suit against his niece and nephew. The lawsuit was filed in April 2023, and alleged that Jackson’s nephew, Thomas Lee Anderson, and his niece, Erica M. Anderson Ross, attempted to extort Jackson for $20 million using extortion and harassment.
As ESPN reported, the judge’s Feb. 2 decision included a permanent protective order barring the pair from contacting or contacting either Jackson or his immediate family members. They also must stay at least 500 yards away from the Heisman Trophy winner and remove any content on social media they posted about Jackson.
The 61-year-old Jackson alleged that the conduct from his family members began in 2022 and included threatening messages and social media posts, false public allegations that painted him in a negative light, and the public disclosure of private information that was intended to cause him emotional distress. Jackson said Thomas Anderson posted on Facebook that he would release photos, texts, and medical records in order to “show America” that he wasn’t playing around, according to the lawsuit.
Jackson alleged that his niece and nephew enlisted the help of an Atlanta attorney to demand $20 million in exchange for stopping their campaign. Jackson said that the pair threatened to show up at a restaurant near the home of Jackson and to disrupt a charity event he hosted in Auburn in April as a way to harass and intimidate him.
According to the lawsuit, Jackson feared for his safety and the safety of his family as the result of his niece and nephew’s actions. The suit sought unspecified damages for intentional infliction of emotional distress and invasion of privacy, as well as a civil conspiracy claim and a protective order due to the stalking Jackson claimed to have experienced. The court determined that there was no legitimate reason for the siblings’ actions and their flagrant disregard for the cease and desist letter that Jackson’s attorneys sent to the pair.
Judge Jason D. Marbut, Cobb County Superior Court Judge, said in his court order that neither the siblings nor their attorneys were able to challenge Jackson’s claims successfully, nor did they participate in the case following a May 2023 hearing during which they agreed to abide by a temporary protective order. The judge determined that Jackson’s niece and nephew were in default, meaning they accepted all of his claims as true, according to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.
Marbut wrote in his decision, “Reasonable people would find defendants’ behavior extreme and outrageous,” Marbutt explained. “The court saw evidence that an attorney representing defendants claimed his clients’ conduct would cease for the sum of $20 million.”
Jackson’s attorneys, Robert Ingram and David Conley, celebrated the decision with a news release on Feb. 5, “Unfortunately for those attempting to extort 20 million dollars from Jackson and his family, Bo still hits back hard.”