Claims made in a U.S. court document regarding an alleged sexual encounter involving Edmonton Oilers owner Daryl Katz and a ballerina have been dropped, Global News has learned.
In a voluntary dismissal filed Aug. 3 and obtained by Global News, Mitchell Taylor Button and Dusty Button dismissed their claims that Katz paid for sex with a 17-year-old ballerina.
On July 8, 2022, the Buttons had originally filed a third-party counterclaim naming seven women suing them as well as five other people, including Katz. The counterclaim was in response to sexual misconduct allegations made against the Buttons. Among those making the allegations are a ballerina named Sage Humphries, whom the Buttons alleged had the sexual encounter with Katz.
“It is highly unusual for a party to move to strike portions of its own pleadings,” the new motion to strike states.
“However, information recently provided to them has called into question a sole allegation in their third-party complaint – specifically, the age of plaintiff Safe Humphries and allegations related thereto.”
The court agreed to remove references to Humphries’ age and a line that accused Katz of sex trafficking.
In the motion to strike, the Buttons claim that Humphries lied to them about her age saying the couple undertook “exhaustive independent research” to verify her age.
That research included looking at the ballerina’s Wikipedia page and doing a Google search for her year of birth. They also consulted the website LexisNexis which provides access to online data portals.
“The allegations about her being born in 1998 were presented in good faith,” the motion to strike states.
“Nevertheless, having been presented with reliable information to the contrary, the undersigned has a duty as an officer of the court (and as a matter of fundamental fairness and decency) to strike these allegations in light of new information that has come to light.”
On Tuesday, the Buttons’ lawyer, provided Global News with a statement regarding the decision to withdraw the claim regarding Katz.
“I want to personally apologize for any harm the erroneous factual claims may have caused to Mr. Katz and his family,” Marc Randazza’s statement reads. “We brought the claims in good faith, but the moment I doubted the ability to maintain them, I took corrective action and asked the court to strike all relevant references from the record.
“Nobody should repeat those allegations in any context without noting that they have been withdrawn and repudiated.”
In a statement issued to Global News last month when the claims came to light, Katz’s lawyer said his client denies the allegations “without reservation.”
In a statement issued to NBC News last month, Humphries’ lawyer, Sigrid McCawley, said her client “had a business relationship with Mr. Katz and there was never any sexual relationship between them.”
Dusty Button, a ballerina, and her husband taught ballet to students. In their third-party counterclaim, they allege the lawsuit against them is an extortion attempt. They describe the accusations against them as “fabrications.”
Global News has reached out to the Oilers Entertainment Group for an official statement on the latest developments in the case, as well as to Humphries’ lawyer.
–With files from Breanna Karstens-Smith, Global News