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By Mike Johnson on 2019-06-26 18:00:00

Former WWE Champion Phil "CM Punk" Brooks filed a lawsuit against ROH star Scott "Colt Cabana" Colton on 6/18 in the Circuit Court of Cook County in Illinois, can exclusively report.

The counter-suit, seeking $600,000 from Colton, was filed as part of Brooks' response to Colton's second, amended lawsuit against the former WWE and ROH Champion.  Colton filed a lawsuit in August 2018 against Brooks  in the Circuit Court of Cook County in Illinois, alleging unpaid legal fees and a breach of contract from Brooks stemming from the lawsuit that WWE physician Doctor Chris Amann filed against each of them in the fallout of Brooks' November 2014 appearance on Colton's Art of Wrestling podcast. 

As has previously reported, Colton alleged that Brooks promised him that he would be covered financially during the Amann lawsuit, only to have to later hire his own attorney after he and Brooks had a personal falling out.  Colton has been attempting to claim he and Brooks had a verbal contract, arguing that Brooks should reimburse Colton for the legal fees he incurred after Brooks’ legal team no longer handled Colton’s side of the lawsuit.

Claims in the lawsuit were dismissed by the court, which did allow Colton to file an amended version.  The current lawsuit before the court filed by Colton would be the third version, filed on 5/21.  The latest filing is seeking a reimbursement of $200,000 in Colton’s personal legal costs plus additional damages, repeating much of the same language and the same allegations from Colton's previous lawsuit filings.  Colton's claims in the most recent lawsuit version alleged he and Brooks had a contract that would have kept Colton from paying legal fees, but that Brooks’ legal team The Loeb Firm dropped him as a client after discovery with the idea they no longer needed to keep Colton on their side. 

In his counter-suit, Brooks stated that he spent over $1.2 million on legal bills over the two-year period where The Loeb Firm defended himself and Colton against Dr. Chris Amann's allegations.  The Amann case went to court with the jury ruling unanimously in Colton and Brooks' favor.  Amann received zero damages.

Brooks' counter-suit alleges Colton did not contribute anything towards their "attorney's fees and expenses incurred" in the Amann legal battle and that Colton "refused to contribute monies" towards the case, noting, "Colton's unjust retention of the benefits of receiving a high-quality, professional legal defense through the Loeb Firm paid for solely by Brooks without any reimbursement of Brooks violated fundamental principles of justice, equality, and good conscience."

Brooks lawsuit noted that Colton makes money from his Art of Wrestling series through advertisements and sponsors, YouTube impressions and through the sale of merchandise Colton promotes on the podcast.  It notes that within five days of the November 2014 CM Punk episode, that episode was streamed or downloaded 1.5 million times, the largest audience ever for that podcast series.  Within a week, that number was up to three million.  The implication is that despite the episode being the most financially successful podcast episode ever for Colton, he did not offer any money towards their legal defense.

Brooks' lawsuit also alleges that when Colton received a letter from legal representatives of Dr. Chris Amann requesting the episode be removed, Brooks believed "Upon information and belief, Colton had a commercial and financial incentive to leave episode 226 available for public consumption and not comply with the Demand Letter."  Colton has already stated in previous lawsuit filings that he would have removed the podcast and attempted to settle with Amann had it not been for Brooks stating that Colton would be taken care of legally.

The idea that Colton and Brooks had a legal, binding contract based on a text message has been a major bone of contention in the legal wrangling and thus far, the presiding Judge has not agreed with Colton that the agreement would be binding under Illinois law.  The court has left it open that the Loeb Firm’s agreement to continue to represent Colton after he and Brooks had an as-of-yet unexplained personal falling out may fall under Illinois law, but the court has not made a firm ruling in either direction.  Every time a new Amended lawsuit is filed, the clock is pretty much reset on the case.

Brooks' lawsuit claims that Colton and Brooks jointly hired the Loeb Firm to defend them and that their agreement to retain Loeb's services included the understanding that Brooks would be billed, but was "silent with respect to how Brooks and Colton could, would or should allocate the Loeb Firm’s fees and expenses among themselves or whether how and when Colton should reimburse Brooks.”   The agreement with Loeb also, according to Brooks’ filing, stated that either Colton or Brooks could independently end their agreement with the Loeb Firm at any time. 

It also stated, in Paragraph 14 of their agreement with Loeb, “For example, although we are not aware of any conflict that presently exists between the two of you, the potential for such a conflict exists.  If an actual conflict were to arise in the future, we may not be able to represent Scott [Colton] in the Amann Lawsuit.”  Loeb later dropped Colton from their representation, stating there was an ethical issue that prevented them from continuing to represent Colton.

Brooks alleges that by June 2017, he had paid $1,210,000 in legal fees and that by June 2019, Colton had not reimbursed him for Colton's share of the lawsuit costs.

Brooks is alleging that Colton breached his contract with Brooks by not reimbursing him, noting that he “conferred a benefit” on Colton by funding their legal defense against Dr. Chris Amann.  Brooks noted in the lawsuit that he has paid $1,210,000 while Colton has paid zero.   As noted, Brooks is seeking $600,000 “for general damages” as well as interest on such damages “as allowed by law”; costs of suit incurred and additional further relief that the court deems just and proper.   Colton’s side must respond by 7/3 to Brooks’ lawsuit. 

Brooks’ side has already filed to have certain aspects of the lawsuit sealed from the public, noting that material would fall under attorney-client privilege between Loeb Firm and himself and should not be publicly released.  The court has yet to rule on that matter. is in the process of exploring over 200 pages of legal filings in the Colton vs. Brooks lawsuit that were filed over the last four weeks, including Punk's responses to Cabana's allegations. will have additional updates in the days ahead.

A very special thank you to Billy Krotchsen for all his assistance.



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