More than 50 former World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE) wrestlers have filed a class action personal injury lawsuit against the agency, alleging acute and long-term damage to their brains. The organization is accused of failing in its duty to protect former wrestlers from the ill effects of repeated blows to the head during performances, according to CNN.
Among the ailments from which the former wrestlers claim to suffer:
- Traumatic brain injury;
- Chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE) (an Alzheimer’s like disease).
The lawsuit alleges that wrestlers suffered repeated head trauma in the course of their careers and the cumulative effect of that was that severe, disabling and long-term brain damage.
The WWE is accused of failing to do enough to prevent such injuries or to provide proper care for the wrestlers at the time of these repeated injuries. Corporate profits were placed above the safety, health and financial security of wrestlers, who are now seriously injured and have no recourse for treatment of their damaged bodies and minds.
A representative from WWE called the lawsuit “ridiculous” and essentially a money-grab by greedy injury lawyers. The agency said it will request and expects to receive a dismissal of the claim.
This kind of response is common anytime an agency is facing such serious allegations, particularly when there are numerous plaintiffs. They are going to say whatever they can to limit liability. Trying to pin the blame on lawyers is a popular way of trying to deflect their own responsibility.
The reality is: Lawyers who bring frivolous claims are almost always quickly called out by the courts, and they generally don’t receive any money, as most personal injury attorneys operate on a contingency fee basis. That means they don’t get paid anything unless and until they win.
In this case, those suing the WWE include:
- Paul Orndoff, aka, “Mr. Wonderful”
- Joseph Laurinaitis, aka, “Road Warrior Animal”
- Jimmy Snuka, aka, “Superfly”
- Chris Pallies, aka, “King Kong Bundy
- Terry Brunk, aka, “Sabu”
- Salvador Guerrero IV, aka, “Chavo”
You may recall that Snuka was recently deemed incompetent mentally to stand trial on 33-year-old murder and manslaughter of his one-time girlfriend in 1983. Defense lawyers in that case had argued Snuka suffered the onset of early dementia, attributable to his long history with concussions throughout his career. The 73-year-old is being represented in this action by his wife.
The lawsuit has been filed in the U.S. District Court in Connecticut, which is where the headquarters of the WWE is located. Owner Vince McMahon is also a named defendant in the case.
It’s anticipated that the company will argue the contact-sports exceptions to negligence liability. Plaintiffs have countered this ahead of time with the assertion that WWE matches were much unlike other kinds of contact sports in that the moves involved were very specific, controlled, scripted, choreographed and directed by the agency. That means the traumatic brain injuries plaintiffs sustained were the direct result of the agency’s actions.
In recent years, the NHL and the NFL have also been defendants in class-action lawsuits by players suffering from brain injuries.
Contact the Carolina injury lawyers at the Lee Law Offices by calling 800-887-1965.
Dozens of wrestlers sue WWE over CTE, effects of traumatic brain injuries, July 19, 2016, By Des Bieler, The Washington Post
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