Posted By Caroline Walsh on 04/19/17
According to Pwinsider.com, WWE filed a motion seeking a summary judgment that would end the lawsuit brought against them by former WWE performer Vito LoGrasso and former WWE developmental talent Evan Singleton. Previous lawsuits against WWE involving Billy Jack Haynes, Ryan Sakoda, Russ McCullough and Matthew “Luther Reigns” Wiese have all been dismissed (all are currently appealing that decision), but the llawsuit brought by Vito LoGrasso and Evan Singleton saw all of their claims against WWE tossed from court, with the exception of one claim – one alleging that in 2005, WWE “became aware of and failed to disclose to its wrestlers information concerning a link between repeated head trauma and permanent degenerative neurological conditions.”
Since WWE had created it’s Wellness Policy in 2005 and LoGrasso and Singleton had wrestled during that period, the court ruled it was within reason that there was a possibility that WWE had a “greater knowledge” of the dangers via information cultivated via Wellness Policy data. WWE filed a motion on April 17th, stating that the plaintiffs “never had any factual basis to allege that WWE was aware in 2005 of a link between repeated head trauma and permanent degenerative conditions, and no basis to allege fraud.”
WWE states that the fraud charge brought in the lawsuit was based on allegations stated in a Mayo Clinic article that actually said nothing regarding CTE or degenerative conditions being caused by repetitive head trauma. WWE also claims that the Plaintiffs did not ask one WWE witness on the record whether they were even aware that such the article even existed. WWE’s motion also featured some material that was redacted, but WWE then claimed that Plaintiff’s shifted their fraud theory again, claiming now that that “WWE knew about research conducted by Christopher Nowinski for his book, Head Games, published in September 2006″, despite the fact that the judge presiding over the case had ” already rejected the Plaintiffs’ argument that Mr. Nowinski had any information relevant to the discovery order on two different occasions.”
Basically what WWE is saying is that since there has been no evidence to support a fraud charge and all attempts at claiming one have been proven to be false, that claim should be dropped.
Since LoGrasso and Singleton had, on the record, disavowed that they were claiming WWE had acted fraudulently against them, WWE asked the court to rule the fraud claim was out, since there was no basis for their claim and that the claim, since it had no evidence supporting it never got out of “the starting blocks.” The WE motion also included the following…
“In this case, much time and effort was spent dealing with allegations that Plaintiffs’ counsel claimed were the requisite fraudulent omissions, ranging from Stephanie McMahon’s Congressional testimony, to statements made by the McMahons in television interviews, to a 2015 opinion stated by Dr. Maroon on the NFL Network. Since detrimental reliance is a critical element of a fraud claim, those allegations should not have been made unless the Plaintiffs in some way detrimentally relied upon them. However, all of these were shown to be complete red herrings which were not even known to either Plaintiff, let alone detrimentally relied upon by them. Singleton and LoGrasso both admitted that they had never read Stephanie McMahon’s Congressional testimony which, as this Court found, was repeatedly mischaracterized by Plaintiffs’ counsel anyway. Neither mentioned Dr. Maroon’s 2015 statement at all, which was made after this suit was filed. Singleton admitted he never watched the televised programs where the McMahons were interviewed regarding the Benoit findings. He could not identify anything that he considered to be fraudulent to him. As to Mr. McMahon’s statements questioning media reports that Benoit had the brain of an 85-year old with dementia, LoGrasso not only did not claim that was a fraudulent omission that misled him; he actually agreed with Mr.McMahon’s personal observation about Benoit’s mental acuity.”
WWE further claims that that LoGrasso admitted there was no discussion of CTE in the WWE locker room during his tenure with the company…
“LoGrasso never reported a head injury to Dr. Rios (the independent contractor-physician retained by WWE during LoGrasso’s tenure), who LoGrasso admitted was a good doctor, or to anybody else at WWE. Thus, there would have been no occasion for Dr. Rios to discuss repetitive head injury with LoGrasso, nor ability to tell him about a discovery not even announced until after LoGrasso was released. Nobody could have urged him to perform in disregard of some known risk about CTE with contemporaneous fraudulent intent in any event. On the contrary, the undisputed evidence demonstrates that WWE did exactly what a responsible company should do in the face of what this Court aptly described as “recent discoveries regarding a link between repeated head trauma and permanent degenerative neurological conditions” once it heard such media reports in September 2007.”
WWE also stated there is no clear evidence that LoGrasso’s alleged injuries were caused by the company omitting facts from him during his run there, and pointed out that LoGrasso admitted he had his own doctor while he was contracted to WWE, so he had “access to his own personal physician and source of specialized knowledge” and also stated that WWE’s Dr. Rios was a “good doctor.” WWE further argues that they had no responsibility to LoGrasso after their contractual relationship ended noting that Connecticut law, “does not impose on a non-health care provider an obligation to warn persons with whom it has no continuing relationship of new scientific opinions regarding potential medical conditions such persons might develop. There is no such duty even on health care providers when those providers are not aware of any misdiagnosis and there is no ongoing relationship.”
If WWE is successful in the motion, they would have effectively defeated the case brought against them by Singleton and LoGrasso, the final lawsuit filed in the initial round of lawsuits brought against them.
There is still a class action lawsuit against WWE, filed by over 50 former WWE performers (some of whom were never under contract and appeared in enhancement roles on TV), which includes lead plaintiff Joseph “Road Warrior Animal” Laurinaitis, who is alleging that the company hid their knowledge of medical conditions, such as CTE, from the wrestlers because the-then WWF “placed corporate gain over its wrestlers’ health, safety and financial security, choosing to leave the plaintiffs severely injured and with no recourse to treat their damaged minds and bodies.