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Judge Orders Settlement Discussions In WWE Concussion Lawsuit

Posted By Caroline Walsh on 05/17/17

PWInsider reports that Judge Vanessa L. Bryant has ordered settlement discussions on May 9 in lawsuits against WWE in the United States District Court of Connecticut. Judge Bryant ordered that the lawyers meet with their clients to talk about possible settlement offers they’d be happy with. Bryant also ordered that lawyers tell the court within 21 days of dates in June, July and August where all sides will be available “commit to a full and final settlement of these matters are available to devote an entire day to settlement discussions with Judge Thomas Smith.”

WWE filed paperwork on May 12, following up on their request for a Summary Judgment that would end the cases against them by Vito LoGrasso and Evan Singleton. The court previously threw out all claims against WWE except for the one that stated WWE was “fraudulent with passing on their knowledge of potential head injuries that could happen from performing as a professional wrestler for the company.” The court felt it was within “the realm of possibility.”

WWE said in the filing that even though LoGrasso claimed WWE was responsible for his health problems, he said in his deposition that he never told Vince McMahon, Stephanie McMahon, John Laurinaitis or WWE’s doctor at the time (Dr. Rios) of any head injuries he suffered while working for them. He claimed his health issues started after a September 2006 concussion. WWE says they only found out about CTE in September 2007. They also said that LoGrasso, since leaving WWe, never told them about his symptoms and admitted that to not telling them. They claim the claim was time-barred and meritless.

They wrote: “On this sole remaining issue identified by the Court, Plaintiffs failed to adduce any evidence, let alone the clear and convincing evidence required to resist summary judgment on a fraud claim. Recognizing this lack of evidence, the Opposition attempts to morph the fraud claim into one for patent symptoms of concussions, like post concussion syndrome, as opposed to latent permanent degenerative neurological conditions.”

Meanwhile, WWE said that Evan Singleton’s “own binding admissions prove: (a) he received a baseline ImPACT test on December 1, 2011 during which he was told about the signs and symptoms of concussions;4 (b) prior to his injury he was told by a WWE physician that he would not be able to perform if he received a concussion and remained symptomatic; (c) he was injured performing a common move that he knew he would perform when he became a professional wrestler; (d) he knew he would get hurt if he performed the move wrong; (e) he, in fact, did perform it wrong on September 27, 2012; (f) the injury was an accident; (g) he never wrestled again after his injury;5 and (h) nobody has told him that he has CTE, and he does not have any fear of having CTE. Accordingly, his claim is about nothing more than an alleged patent injury arising from a risk he knew and assumed. It was caused by his own mistake, and he could not even make out a negligence claim, much less a claim for fraud.”

They also said that Singleton admitted during his deposition that WWE had fourteen presentations about health (including concussions) while he was under contract. He doesn’t remember attending one that he was required to attend. WWE said: “These presentations negate fraudulent intent to keep performers in the dark.”

They say that Chris Nowinski, who plaintiffs claimed was working for WWE when he wrote his book Head Games (about the effects of concussions), was not working for them at the time, nor was he at the WWE headquarters. They claim the only conversations he had with Vince McMahon were about Nowinski’s recent criticisms of WWE, which he apologized for. McMahon’s deposition said that he didn’t know of what was in the book, didn’t read it and didn’t talk to Nowinski for his research.