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TNA LAWSUIT VS. WWE OVER, FULL DETAILS

By Mike Johnson on 2013-01-17 16:11:29
As we broke yesterday in the PWInsider.com Elite section, the lawsuit TNA filed against WWE ended yesterday with TNA voluntarily withdrawing from the lawsuit.

In a document filed on 1/15, TNA advised the court that both sides had agreed to cover their own legal costs and the suit had been withdrawn. The presiding judge signed off on it yesterday.

There had been movement in the case after the court filed a permanent injunction against former WWE and TNA office worker Brian Wittenstein, the other defendant in the case. The Chancery Court of Tennessee in Davidson County officially ordered an injunction against former TNA and WWE office staffer Brian Wittenstein on 8/20 for Wittenstein's alleged role in the TNA lawsuit against him and WWE. The order demanded that Wittenstein return all information he downloaded from TNA onto a "flash drive" after leaving his employment there, not speak of any TNA information to any third parties including WWE, and not breach any agreements he had signed with TNA.

The lawsuit was filed after WWE notified TNA that Wittenstein had handed over a flash drive containing confidential TNA documents, including contracts and contacts for talent. At the same time, Ric Flair informed TNA he wanted a release from his deal in order to go to WWE. Armed with those two situations, TNA felt WWE had targeted them and went on the offensive.

Early on in the suit, WWE had a temporary injunction placed against them requiring them to return any confidential TNA documents they were in possession of. WWE had already returned the material to TNA by the time the lawsuit was filed and presented evidence to the court that they had policed their own company email and file servers to prove they had not maintained any of the confidential material for their own usage. The court was satisfied with that and released WWE from their injunction.

Contrary to persistent rumor, at no time was WWE enjoined from hiring or negotiating with former TNA talents or TNA talents who's deals were expiring.

Over the course of the lawsuit, the Ric Flair aspect of the case appeared to be moot as WWE filed documents indicating that TNA had already released Flair prior to filing the lawsuit. WWE claimed at the time they had no interest in hiring Flair, who has made two appearances for the company since his TNA no compete expired.

TNA had been suing for interference with existing contracts, conversion, breach of contract, civil conspiracy, unfair competition, and violation of the Tennessee Uniform Trade Secrets Act. They were also suing Wittenstein for breach of duty of loyalty and were seeking reimbursement of payments made to Wittenstein as part of their Severance Agreement as well as their attorney fees and expenses in bringing forth the lawsuit.

TNA had been claiming a civil conspiracy in their lawsuit, alleging that WWE and Wittenstein "conspired and agreed" to share confidential, trade secret and proprietary information Wittenstein "wrongfully took" from TNA. They stated that WWE would use and "did use" that information "to solicit and induce TNA's wrestling talent to breach their contracts with TNA and enter into contracts with WWE."

TNA noted in their original filing that due to Wittenstein and WWE's "misappropriation and/or threatened misappropriation of TNA's trade secrets, TNA will suffer damages, as well as immediate and irreparable harm. TNA has no adequate remedy at law." The lawsuit noted that "money damages cannot adequately compensate TNA, even if Defendants could respond by paying money damage."

The original lawsuit filing noted that TNA was "damaged in an amount in excess of the court's minimal jurisdictional limits" and that the conduct of WWE and Wittenstein "entitles TNA to an award of exemplary damages in an amount in excess of this Court's minimal jurisdictional limit."

There was no word on whether a settlement was reached between the parties in the documents signing off on the dismissal of the case.