Wrestlers taking head injury lawsuit to Supreme Court

Feb 18, 2021 - by Marc Middleton

Dozens of former WWE wrestlers who have claimed in lawsuits that WWE failed to protect them from repeated head injuries are taking the case to the United States Supreme Court.

We noted back in September how WWE scored a major court victory when a federal appeals court dismissed a lawsuit filed against WWE by more than 50 former talents, most of them stars from the 1980s and the 1990s. The wrestlers claimed that WWE failed to protect them from the repeated head injuries, including concussions that led to long-term brain damage. However, 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.

In an update, the Minnesota Star Tribune reports that the lawyer for the wrestlers, Konstantine Kyros, filed a request late Wednesday of this week, asking the Supreme Court to hear appeals of lower court rulings that dismissed the lawsuits. These are the lower courts that said many of the claims were frivolous or filed after the stature of limitations had expired.

The plaintiffs included several WWE Hall of Famers and Legends – the late 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.

WWE continued to deny the allegations. A WWE spokesperson told The Star Tribune earlier today that the lawsuits are without merit.

Kyros criticized the lower court rulings and said the wrestlers have been “deprived of their fundamental rights as US Citizens, including their right to appeal.”

Kyros also said the 2nd Circuit court rejected earlier appeals because final rulings had not been made in all the lawsuits. After Judge Bryant made those final rulings in 2018, Kyros appealed again, but he said the 2nd Circuit also rejected those appeals, saying they were filed too late according to a new legal precedent set by the Supreme Court. Judge Bryant, in her 2018 ruling, also criticized Kyros for repeatedly failing to comply with court rules and orders. She ordered him to pay WWE’s legal fees of more than $500,000.

The lawsuits claim WWE is directly responsible for wrestlers’ injuries because unlike football and hockey, where players have suffered similar injuries, WWE matches involve scripted and choreographed moves by WWE. The National Hockey League and the National Football League were also sued by former players who suffered concussions and similar head injuries. The NHL settled for $18.9 million while the NFL settled for $1 billion.

Stay tuned for more.

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