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By Mike Johnson on 2020-10-13 11:07:00

Joseph R. Meehan, known professionally in the world of pro wrestling as Joey Ryan, filed a lawsuit last month in Nashville, TN against Impact Wrestling parent company Anthem Wrestling LLC, alleging the company breached his contract when they released him in the wake of a number of allegations voiced against him on social media.  This would be the sixth known lawsuit Meehan has filed in recent weeks.

In a five-page lawsuit filed in the Circuit Court of Davidson County, TN on 9/15 against Anthem Wrestling, Ryan stated that he signed a contract on 9/1/19 that was slated to run through 8/31/21 but that contract was breached when Impact Wrestling Executive Scott D’Amore emailed Meehan on 6/22 to inform him that the company was no longer going to be booking him due to "recent allegations" and that Anthem Wrestling Exhibitions, LLC/IMPACT Wrestling would be "making a public statement to this effect shortly." 

Following that email, Meehan received a formal release notice (signed by Anthem Wrestling President Ed Nordholm) the same day (6/22), notifying him that the end of his contract was being “amended” to 6/22/20, thereby releasing him.   That was followed by a public statement made by the company that they had terminated Meehan.

Meehan’s lawsuit does not divulge the reasoning as to why he was released by the company, instead focusing on the allegations that Anthem Wrestling breached its contract with him via the following:

-Anthem Wrestling "failed to perform as guaranteed in the express language of the Contract by failing to follow and abide by the terms prescribed in Article VIII.  Term and Termination."

-Anthem Wrestling "failed to perform as guaranteed by failing to adhere to the express terms prescribed in Section 8.03 (a)-(i)

Meehan’s filing included a copy of his 23-page contract with the company.  The aforementioned section is titled "Termination by Promoter in the Event of Breach" and noted, "Promoter shall have the right, in its sole discretion to terminate this Agreement, or suspend this Agreement for up to 3 months, both as to services and compensation.”

The section then specifically listed a number of potential causes for action to be taken by the company against a talent, including a sub-section that features the following language:

(g) Wrestler commits any act with Promoter believes, in its reasonable business judgment, would damage Wrestler's or Promoter's reputation and/or that of its affiliate, licensees, or assigns or otherwise damages the value or integrity of the Programs, the Works or the Merchandise of which could subject Wrestler to criminal prosecution;

(h) Wrestler commits any act (other than in character in accordance with direction provided to Wrestler by Promoter's Creative team) which places or could place Wrestler or Promoter (or any of its affiliates) in a patently negative light; or

(i) Any instance of a violation for which Wrestler has already received a warning, reprimand or notification therof, provided, however, that in the case of a breach under paragraphs (a), (b), (f), (g),or (h), Promoter shall provide Wrestler with written notice of breach and a 5 day cure period.  If the Wrestler is unable to cure such breach after the expiration of the foregoing cure period despite the exercise of diligent efforts to cure same, then the Parties shall make good faith efforts for a period of not less than thirty (30) days to work together in good faith to resolve the matter, failing which Promoter shall be entitled to terminate this Agreement upon the expiry of such additional thirty (30) day period.  In the event of the suspension and/or termination of the Term of this Agreement (or promoter's obligations hereunder) Promoter shall have no further obligation to Wrestler hereunder (during such suspension and/or following such termination, as applicable) subject only to Promoter's obligation to pay royalties and to compensate Wrestler for services fully performers prior to the date of termination.  Promoter shall not be deemed to be in breach of any of its obligations under this Agreement unless and until Promoter shall have received written notice from Wrestler (specifying in detail the alleged breach and making specific reference to this paragraph and shall have failed to cure such alleged breach within thirty (30) days thereof." 

 Since Meehan’s lawsuit specifically points to this section of the contract, it would appear he is arguing that if Impact Wrestling felt he breached their contract agreement with him, by the letter of the agreement both sides entered, they should have informed him of the issue in writing and given him a five day period in which to resolve the issue they feel he breached.  Then, if he was unable to do so, the parties would have thirty days to attempt to work out a resolution before Impact would have had the actual right to terminate Meehan’s contract with the company.  By not following that procedure, Meehan is alleging that due to Anthem Wrestling's actions, he has suffered "substantial monetary damage to his income, as well as damage to his reputation." 

Meehan is seeking a judgment of ten million dollars against Anthem due to damages "he has suffered, which were caused by the Defendant's actions."  He is also requesting he be "awarded reasonable attorney fees for the prosecution of this cause" and that the all costs be covered by the Defendant, Anthem Wrestling.  He is also asking for any other "further and general relief" the Court may rule he is entitled.   

Court records indicate that Anthem Wrestling was served on 9/24 in Nashville, TN and have 30 days to file their defense in response to the lawsuit.  As of this writing, they have not yet responded.

Meehan was the subject of numerous accusations during the #SpeakingOut movement on Twitter over the summer.  Meehan’s work as a professional wrestler and independent wrestling promoter halted when the allegations first came to light.  Meehan did answer some of the claims in a now-deleted YouTube video.   He is not known to have, as of this writing, been criminally charged in relation to any of the accusations, which could be a sticking point in his breach claim against Impact.

Beyond Anthem Wrestling, Meehan has filed numerous five other lawsuits over the last several weeks, all denying any claims of sexual assault against him and alleging that the women who made the claims used social media postings to defame him, hurting his ability to make money as a professional wrestler through his performances, merchandise, Patreon account, the loss of his Bar Wrestling independent wrestling promotion, his Twitch channel and Cameo video messaging.  In many of those lawsuits, he is seeking sizable monetary damages.


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