In the case of Laurinaitis vs. World Wrestling Entertainment, Road Warrior Animal (Joseph Laurinaitis), Chris Pallies (King Kong Bundy), Jimmy ‘Superfly’ Snuka, Mr. Wonderful (Paul Orndoff), and nearly 50 other former superstars have filed suit against their former employer in federal court in New Haven, Connecticut less than 48 hours ago. The plaintiffs have stated that the head trauma and potential concussions they’ve endured throughout the years have caused possible neurological damage. They’ve further implicated the company failed to care for the professional wrestlers’ injuries to the head “in any medically competent or meaningful manner”, as well as hiding the long-term effects of the repeated trauma to the head that they all endured as part of the job.
As reported by ESPN, Konstantine Kyros will be the prosecuting attorney. He stated that he is appealing the dismissal of two class-action lawsuits against the WWE over concussions, while two unlawful death lawsuits against WWE remain pending. The pending lawsuits were filed by the families of the late Matt “Doink the Clown” Osborne and Nelson Frazier Jr., who wrestled as Big Daddy V, Viscera and Mabel. This is not Kyros’ first go ‘round with the top wrestling promotion in the world.
WWE issued a statement earlier stating that “This is another ridiculous attempt by the same attorney who has previously filed class action lawsuits against WWE, both of which have been dismissed. A federal judge has already found that this lawyer made patently false allegations about WWE, and this is more of the same.” World Wrestling Entertainment seems more than confident of their chances. However, they shouldn’t count their chickens before they’ve hatched.
Though professional wrestlers are considered ‘independent contractors’, bereft of any sort of medical benefits (something that the defense will highly likely bring up during any sort of legal proceedings), WWE is in a precarious place right now. They are a publicly traded company that has stockholders that they must answer to. They also have a network that they do has more than a minor say in things (USA Network). When a similar suit was filed by several thousand players against the NFL in regards to head injuries, the league wound up paying out over three quarters of a billion dollars. If World Wrestling Entertainment opts out of settling and decides to go to trial, it could get very messy, too messy for said stockholders and network to want to deal with and they may force the hand of upper management.
The Scrum Sports will continue to cover this story as further developments unfold.
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