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By Mike Johnson on 2015-07-01 19:36:32

WWE filed a lawsuit in The United States District Court of Connecticut on Monday 6/29, attempting to strike down the recent rash of lawsuits filed against the company by former contracted talents and in the case of deceased former talents, their estates alleging wrongdoing on behalf of the company when it came to educating the talents about the dangers of performing physically in the ring, specifically in regard to head injuries, including concussions.

Robert Windham (aka WWE Hall of Famer Blackjack Mulligan), Thomas Billington (aka The Dynamite Kid), James Ware (aka WWE Hall of Famer Koko B. Ware) and Oreal Perras (aka former WWWF champion Ivan Koloff) as well as "various John Doe’s" were all named as defendants in the suit, based on WWE's claims that they have received letters threatening to file lawsuits on behalf of the talents by attorney Konstantine W. Kyros. WWE included copies of the letters with the lawsuit, noting they received identical letters regarding all of the aforementioned former talents on 6/2.

Those letters followed five similar lawsuits brought against the company by a multitude of former contracted talents also represented by Kyros, including Billy Jack Haynes, Vito Lograsso, the estate of Nelson Frazier Jr. (Big Daddy V), the estate of Matt Osbourne (the original Doink the Clown), former WWE developmental talents Evan Singleton and Russ McCullough, Ryan Sakoda, and Matt Wiese aka Luther Reigns.

Citing that Kyros is filing all of these lawsuits in different jurisdictions and that WWE's contracts cite that all legal issues must be brought up in the State of Connecticut (where they are headquartered), WWE is asking that all the lawsuits be heard in CT. WWE claims that four of the five lawsuits have plaintiffs where the talents agreed contractually that any legal issues would be heard in CT.

Noting that these lawsuits use allegations that WWE hid proof that repeated blows in the ring could cause CTE, WWE points that at the time many of these talents were contracted, CTE had yet to be scientifically discovered.

WWE are also asking that the State dismiss all of the lawsuits, citing that under Connecticut State law, the claims would be time-barred after three years and that none of these talents claimed any wrongdoing or problems until they were solicited by Kyros, who began an Internet campaign seeking former WWE performers last year.

The lawsuit also specifically goes after Kyros, claiming he has been soliciting clients since June 2004 and has made false claims online, "that there was a “WWE Concussions Lawsuit Claims Center.” with WWE adding, "Once more, this statement was false as there was not then, and is not now, any such thing."

WWE also specifically addressed the other lawsuits filed against the company in recent months:

-In the case of Billy Jack Haynes, WWE refers to him as "self-admitted drug addict for the last 30 years who admittedly worked as a “drug mule” illegally transporting drugs." WWE alleges that since signing on as a plaintiff, Haynes, "with Kyros’ knowledge and approval, has attempted to recruit other former performers with promises that there is money to be made by suing WWE, and that they can assist in putting WWE out of business by joining into litigation."

-WWE alleges that even though Haynes' lawsuit would be time-barred in the State of Oregon (which doesn't allow such claims after ten years), Kyros allegedly filed the lawsuit hoping to get attention and bring about a rash of similar cases, citing interviews Kyros did with National Public Radio as proof.

-WWE alleged that Kyros took out Google advertising to push the lawsuits to anyone searching out information on the case and that celebrity gossip sites such as TMZ and Perez Hilton ran salacious headlines that alleged Haynes caught Hepatitis C because he worked for WWE as a performer.

-WWE noted that when Kyros was informed of issues with the Haynes lawsuit, he chose to ask for more time before filing an amended complaint, which removed some fraudulent claims but added additional material that was not correct...all of which did little to remedy matters. WWE alleges this was done in an attempt to drum up more potential Plaintiffs. WWE noted that the District Court of Oregon transferred the Haynes lawsuit to CT on 6/25 and that the Court in Oregon ruled that Kyros had been "forum shopping" by trying to get the case heard somewhere beyond where it should have been filed: in Connecticut.

WWE also noted that the stalling strategy in the Haynes lawsuit worked, bringing Kyros "at least some Plantiffs, who, unlike Haynes, had wrestled for WWE in this century."  WWE then addressed the lawsuit filed on behalf of Vito Lograsso and Evan Singleton:

-It was noted that despite the contractual agreement that all claims legally be heard in the State of CT, the lawsuit was filed in Pennsylvania and was seemingly identical to the Haynes lawsuit.

-WWE alleges that the lawsuit contained fraudulent allegations about their company, including "(a) falsely alleging that WWE “discouraged [Singleton] from seeking additional, appropriate medical help, for example from a neurologist” following an alleged concussion when, in fact, WWE had arranged for Singleton to be treated by at least six different physicians including two neurologists; (b) falsely alleging that WWE cleared Singleton to continue wrestling after sustaining a concussion without adequate rest time when, in fact, WWE never medically cleared Singleton to wrestle after his alleged concussion despite clearance from an independent neurologist who found nothing wrong with Singleton and Singleton never again participated in a wrestling match; and (c) falsely alleging that LoGrasso had residual injuries as a result of TBIs from his brief stint with WWE without any medical diagnosis of such injuries before filing suit."

-WWE also alleges that after informing Kyros that Singleton and LoGrasso had contractually agreed any claims against WWE legally would be heard in CT, Kyros refused to withdraw the claim, forcing WWE to have to file a motion to shift that lawsuit over to CT as well, which Kyros did not contest.

-WWE also alleges that when Kyros was informed of incorrect information in the lawsuit regarding Singleton's medical diagnosis, nothing was corrected or withdrawn, leading to WWE having to undergo the expense to draft a motion that was about to filed when Kyros filed asking for an amended complaint to be filed. That filing dropped some of the class-action base allegations and some of the fraudulent claims that WWE brought to Kyros' attention, but "added others".

-The new fraudulent claims included, "In particular, the amended complaint (a) falsely alleged that WWE’s conduct “contributed to [plaintiffs’] untimely death” when, in fact, both Singleton and LoGrasso are still alive; and (b) falsely alleged that “[i]t was not until more than 10 months later that [Singleton] was diagnosed with a traumatic brain injury, including an intracranial hemorrhage. In fact, a MRI taken after Singleton’s alleged injury expressly noted to the contrary: “[n]o intracranial mass lesion, shift of the midline structures or intracranial hemorrhage is identified.”

-Kyros has still alleged that Singleton has injuries that are not correct based on medical records.

-Noting that the Singleton/LoGrasso suit was also transferred to the State of CT, WWE alleges that during a court hearing, when asked why Kyros was listing a Plaintiff as deceased when he was in fact, not, Kyros stated, "But my — my client Nelson Frazier’s dead at the age of 43."

-The court in CT responded, "Does the Complaint reference Mr. Frazier? Are you going to reference every wrestler that’s dead in your Complaint? I don’t – I don’t follow that. You really need to read and get a better grip on the pleading standard in the next week and file an amended complaint."

WWE then noted that Kyros, less than three weeks after the court made those statements to him, then filed the lawsuit regarding the late Matt Osbourne in Texas and in doing so, "acted to circumvent this Court’s jurisdiction and instructions" as well as ignored the ruling of the Oregon court that he was "forum shopping." Osbourne, before his passing, had also agreed that any claims against WWE would be heard in the State of CT.

WWE also addressed the lawsuit filed on behalf of Cassandra Frazier, the widow of the late Nelson Frazier, who portrayed several characters for the company, most recently Big Daddy V:

-WWE noted, "Frazier was a morbidly obese man who died of a heart attack on February 18, 2014 — many years after he last performed for WWE. At no time prior to his death did Frazier ever make a claim against WWE for alleged TBI’s. After his death, he was cremated and no autopsy was performed."

-Although Frazier's suit alleged he suffered from CTE, there was no post-mortem examination that proved he actually suffered from the condition. WWE also noted, "In every complaint filed to date, Kyros has admitted that CTE can only be diagnosed post-mortem."

-WWE also noted that Frazier's widow "claimed she was destitute, and asked for money to avoid being evicted. To help her financially, WWE advanced her royalties that would otherwise become due to the estate, if at all, in the future. Thereafter, she broadly praised WWE in social media outlets."

The company also noted that, "Being destitute, Frazier’s widow was receptive to Kyros’ pitch to permit her late husband’s death to be used as a vehicle" against WWE legally.

-The Frazier suit somehow alleges that CTE led to Frazier dying of a heart attack. WWE responded, "There is no medically-plausible causal connection between CTE and a morbidly obese man with diabetes and hypertension passing away after a heart attack in the shower."

-The Frazier lawsuit, "contains 289 paragraphs identifying every match in which Frazier performed for WWE, extracted from an internet database, followed by the identical boilerplate allegation for each match that “[u]pon information and belief he sustained head and other long-term injuries by participating in this event.” There is no credible basis to assert that Frazier sustained head injuries or other long-term injuries in each and every one of these 289 matches."

-WWE had to file to move the Frazier case to CT as Kyros refused to transfer the case.

WWE also address the suit filed by Russ McCullough, Ryan Sakoda and Matthew Weise aka Luther Reigns in California, noting that the suit was identical to the other lawsuits filed, were filed in CA in an attempt to circumvent the laws in CT and that WWE had to go through the expense of having them moved.

-WWE noted, "On information and belief, Kyros represents the plaintiffs in the McCullough Suit but did not sign the complaint so as to conceal his involvement in the attempt to circumvent this Court’s jurisdiction, which he had previously agreed to be appropriate in cases where former performers had signed forum selection clauses. Instead, he retained local California counsel to sign the pleadings in order to maximize their ability to distance themselves from Kyros’ previous agreement to transfer cases to this Court where performers had agreed to identical forum selection clauses. WWE’s counsel has repeatedly requested that Kyros and the plaintiffs’ California counsel confirm or deny Kyros’ involvement in the McCullough Suit and representation of those plaintiffs, but they have refused to do either."

WWE also alleges that, "Kyros caused the California lawyers he retained to oppose WWE’s motion to transfer venue back to Connecticut. In that opposition, it was once again falsely alleged that “WWE failed to disclose the facts and dangers to plaintiffs and caused them irreparable harm and ultimately an untimely death.” All three plaintiffs in that case are alive, not dead, yet the pattern of making such false allegations continue. Federal pleadings filed by and/or controlled by Kyros have now falsely alleged that either four or five plaintiffs he represents are dead due to torts he accuses WWE of committing, yet all are alive."

WWE also noted, "Additionally, while attempting to argue that the three plaintiffs in the California case had no opportunity to wrestle elsewhere, the false statement was made in the opposition to transfer that “the WWE is, on information and belief, the only professional wrestling company in the country.” Kyros knows this allegation is false. His clients actually performed for other professional wrestling companies in America, and at least two other professional wrestling organizations are on television every week — TNA and Ring of Honor."

WWE also cited that based on their WWE contracts, McCullough, Sakoda and Wiese are time-barred from filing complaints as they last wrestled for WWE in 2001, 2004, and 2005, respectively.

WWE also responded to a number of claims in the recent Matt Osbourne lawsuit, including that the suit claimed that WWE had known "as far back as the 1920s" about dangers when WWE didn't even exist at that point, that Osbourne had wrestled for WWE for over two decades, when it was actually just two years followed by a single appearance in 1997 and that Osbourne "died from an overdose of morphine and hydrocodone, some 20 years after last performing for WWE, and five years after WWE attempted to help him recover from his life-long pattern of substance abuse."

In regard to the named defendants, WWE noted that they received the aforementioned identical letters, informing WWE they were not to have communication with Billington, Windham, Ware and Perras and asking that certain records be frozen due to potential litigation. None of the defendants had ever claimed medical issues to WWE prior to the communication from Kyros.

WWE is requesting that the court rule all of these claims are time-barred under Connecticut law and that "that any other alleged tort claims by Defendants based on WWE’s supposedly negligent and fraudulent conduct are time-barred."

WWE has requested a Jury trial in the matter.

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