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July 25 — World Wrestling Entertainment Inc. must face some concussion-related claims in consolidated cases brought by former pro wrestlers, the District of Connecticut ruled July 21 ( McCullough v. World Wrestling Entertainment, Inc., 2016 BL 234486, D. Conn., No. 15-cv-01074, 7/21/16 ).
The decision let stand a March ruling that wrestlers Evan Singleton and Vito LoGrasso plausibly stated a claim that WWE “fraudulently omitted known facts regarding a link between wrestling activity and permanent brain damage resulting from traumatic brain injuries.”
Those fraud claims arguably affected the wrestlers' decisions to enter and re-enter the ring, and may be enough to suspend Connecticut's statute of limitations, the court said.
The wrestlers in the cases claim they suffer from or are at an increased risk of degenerative brain conditions caused by pro wrestling head injuries. Similar allegations were filed against the WWE by 53 former pro wrestlers, referees and performers July 18. Those cases are also pending in the U.S. District Court for the District of Connecticut (44 PSLR 760, 7/25/16).
WWE did win a partial victory in its motion for reconsideration, which asked the court to reinstate a countersuit it filed against four other wrestlers who threatened to file concussion-related claims.
WWE argued the threatened claims should be deemed time-barred in the same manner as the claims of named plaintiffs in the cases, along with any “John Doe” wrestlers who may sue.
The wrestlers countered that their threatened legal claims weren't sufficient to create federal jurisdiction over the countersuit.
The court largely disagreed with that view, dismissing only the claims against the John Doe defendants.
Judge Vanessa L. Bryant wrote the opinion.
Representation of the plaintiffs included the Kyros Law Offices, as well as Mirabella Law, Cuneo Gilbert & LaDuca, and Pogust Braslow Millrood.
K&L Gates, as well as Baker, Donelson, Bearman, Caldwell & Berkovitz represented World Wrestling Entertainment Inc.
To contact the reporter on this story: Steven M. Sellers in Washington at firstname.lastname@example.org
The opinion is available at http://www.bloomberglaw.com/public/document/Russ_McCullough_et_al_v_World_Wrestling_Entertainment_Inc_Docket_/2.
Copyright © 2016 The Bureau of National Affairs, Inc. All Rights Reserved.
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