Titus O’Neil Responds To Lawsuit From Cameraman Over Swerved Incident
Titus O’Neil and WWE were sued over a segment of the WWE Network show Swerved by cameraman Donald Anderson, who suffered an injured hand, fingers and wrist. The segment involved Paige shocking O’Neil with a cattle prod. PWInsider reports that O’Neil (real name Thaddeus Bullard) filed his response in the United States District Court For the Middle District of Florida, Tampa Division.
In the response, O’Neil said he ‘acted out of necessity to prevent being assaulted’ again by the cattle prod during the prank and that he ‘did not create the danger to be avoided and stopped his action when the danger was gone.’ He said that Anderson “knowingly and voluntarily assumed the risk when he intentionally conspired, planned and participated” to film/record the assault and battery of O’Neil. O’Neil claims he ‘used reasonable force that was not greater than necessary to end the threat of being cattle prodded repeatedly.’ He also claims that the damages to Anderson were from his employer, Uranus Productions, and that he should get workman’s compensation from them. he says that since Anderson worked with Uranus to assault him, he should be barred from bringing claims against him.
O’Neil filed a countersuit for $15,000, which is the same that Anderson is suing him for. Anderson wants $15,000 in damages as well as punitive damages as ruled by the Sixth Judicial Court of Pasco County, Florida, if they rule in his favor. The original lawsuit was for $1.2 million in California and said Anderson faced medical bills of up to $150,000. The lawsuit in Florida has yet to mention that claim.
O’Neil is accusing Anderson of conspiracy to commit battery, conspiracy to commit assault, negligence, gross negligence, intentional infliction of emotional distress. He claims that Anderson was hired by Uranus, who were hired by WWE to develop Swerved. He said Uranus was ‘responsible for generating storylines for each episode and for handling all aspects of physical production.’ He added that that WWE ‘contractually retained all authority over all significant creative aspects’ of the series and had to approve each prank.
He said the cattle prod incident happened ‘unbeknownst to WWE,’ and he included material to show it wasn’t on a list of sketches and pranks approved by WWE Vice President of Development Brian Terwillinger. O’Neil claims that Uranus and Anderson ‘intentionally directed’ Saraya Jade-Bevis (Paige) to assault him without concern for his health. He said he did not ‘consent or otherwise approve of the wrongful, malicious acts’ against him.
O’Neil said that Anderson filmed him being ‘harmed in an offensive and reckless’ way, so he suffered ‘harmful, offensive, reckless and intentional contact that he did not consent to and was injured and suffered damages, including and not limited to bodily injury, pain and suffering and mental anguish.’ O’Neil said Anderson should have known the stunt would cause an injury, but he was negligent. Finally, he said that he’s reserving the right to sue Uranus at a later date and wants a jury trial.
A mediation meeting over the two lawsuits is set for January 2019. If the parties can’t come to terms, they will to trial.