WWE landed a major victory in court this week.
The Associated Press reports that on Wednesday a federal appeals court dismissed a lawsuit filed against WWE by 50 former talents, most of them stars from the 1980s and 1990s. The former WWE talents claimed that the company failed to protect them from repeated head injuries, including concussions that led to long-term brain damage.
The 2nd US Circuit Court of Appeals in New York City agreed with a federal judge in Hartford, Connecticut, US District Judge Vanessa Bryant, who dismissed the lawsuits two years ago, saying many of the claims were frivolous or filed after the statute of limitations expired. WWE has denied the allegations.
The plaintiffs included several WWE Hall of Famers and Legends – Road Warrior Animal, Paul Orndorff, the late Jimmy Snuka, the late King Kong Bundy, the late Mr. Fuji, the late Kamala, Chavo Guerrero Jr., Ahmed Johnson, Dave and Earl Hebner, Sabu, Barry Darsow, Shane Douglas, Marty Jannetty, and Heidenreich, among several others. WWE Chairman & CEO Vince McMahon was listed as a defendant in the suit.
The lawsuit claimed WWE knew the risks of head injuries, but did not warn the wrestlers. Judge Bryant said there was no evidence that WWE knew the concussions or head blows during matches caused CTE (chronic traumatic encephalopathy).
That wasn’t the only win for WWE this week. The 2nd Circuit also dismissed several similar lawsuits by former wrestlers on Wednesday. Those suits against WWE were also over head injuries. The court noted that their appeals were filed too late.
The appeals court further dismissed Kyros’ appeal of sanctions, imposed on him by Judge Bryant. Bryant, in her 2018 ruling, criticized Kyros for repeatedly failing to comply with court rules and orders, and ordered the lawyer to pay WWE’s legal fees. Those fees could total hundreds of thousands of dollars.
Konstantine Kyros, the lawyer for the former WWE talents, called the new ruling on the main suit a “rubber stamp” of Judge Bryant’s previous decision, and “utterly devoid of any original reasoning or engagement with the legal issues raised in the wrestlers’ appeal.”
“In its conclusory assertions the injured wrestlers find no justice having been literally denied a day in court,” Kyros wrote in an email to The AP. “Per this mandate wrestlers have no rights, no rights to bring a lawsuit, no rights to help from WWE for CTE & head injuries, no rights as misclassified employees, no rights to a jury, and ironically no right to even appeal!”