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WWE CONCUSSION LAWSUIT UPDATES: JUDGE ORDERS SETTLEMENT DISCUSSIONS

By Mike Johnson on 2017-05-17 10:48:00

Judge Vanessa L. Bryant, who is presiding over the lawsuits brought against WWE in the United States District Court of Connecticut, ordered on 5/9 that the attorneys involved meet with their clients to discuss possible settlement offers that they would be happy with.  Bryant also ordered that attorneys from each side inform the court within 21 days of dates in June, July and August where all sides will be available to "commit to a full and final settlement of these matters are available to devote an entire day to settlement discussions with Judge Thomas Smith."

Meanwhile, WWE filed paperwork on 5/12 following up on their request for a Summary Judgment that would end the case against them by former WWE star Vito LoGrasso and former developmental star Evan Singleton.  The court had previously thrown out all claims against WWE in their lawsuit, with the exception of the allegation that WWE was fraudulent with passing on their knowledge of potential head injuries that could happen from performing as a professional wrestler for the company.  The court has allowed that allegation to stand, feeling that it was within the realm of possibility.

In that filing, WWE reminded the court that despite LoGrasso's claims that WWE was responsible for his health issues, he stated during his deposition that he never informed Vince McMahon, Stephanie McMahon, John Laurinaitis or WWE's doctor at the time Dr. Rios of any head injuries that he suffered while performing for the company.

LoGrasso has claimed his health issues began following a September 2006 concussion, while WWE has stated that they only learned of the dangers of CTE when LoGrasso and the rest of the world did, in September 2007.  WWE also pointed out that LoGrasso, in the years since leaving WWE, never told the company about his "symptoms" and that he admitted during his deposition that he never reached out and told the company.  

WWE's motion on 5/12 noted, "On this sole remaining issue identified by the Court, Plaintiffs failed to adduce any evidence, let alone the clear and convincing evidence required to resist summary judgment on a fraud claim. Recognizing this lack of evidence, the Opposition attempts to morph the fraud claim into one for patent symptoms of concussions, like post concussion syndrome, as opposed to latent permanent degenerative neurological conditions."

WWE stated that LoGrasso's remaining claim against them was both time-barred and meritless.

In the case of Evan Singleton, WWE's motion noted, "...his own binding admissions prove: (a) he received a baseline ImPACT test on December 1, 2011 during which he was told about the signs and symptoms of concussions;4 (b) prior to his injury he was told by a WWE physician that he would not be able to perform if he received a concussion and remained symptomatic; (c) he was injured performing a common move that he knew he would perform when he became a professional wrestler; (d) he knew he would get hurt if he performed the move wrong; (e) he, in fact, did perform it wrong on September 27, 2012; (f) the injury was an accident; (g) he never wrestled again after his injury;5 and (h) nobody has told him that he has CTE, and he does not have any fear of having CTE. Accordingly, his claim is about nothing more than an alleged patent injury arising from a risk he knew and assumed. It was caused by his own mistake, and he could not even make out a negligence claim, much less a claim for fraud."

WWE's motion also noted that Singleton admitted during his deposition that WWE held 14 presentations about health, including concussions, during his time under contract, but does not recall attending the one he was required to attend.  WWE's motion stated, "These presentations negate fraudulent intent to keep performers in the dark."

The WWE motion also reiterates that Chris Nowinski, who the plaintiffs alleged was working for WWE during the time period he wrote Head Games, his book on the effects of concussions, was not working for the company at the time, was not at the company HQ at the time and that his only conversations with Vince McMahon were in regard to criticisms Nowinski made of the company publicly, which WWE states that Nowinski later apologized for.  McMahon's deposition stated that he was unaware of what was in the book as he had not read it and did not participate in any conversations regarding the book of Nowinski's research.

 

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