In an update on the WWE concussion lawsuits, Judge Vanessa L. Bryant, who is presiding over the lawsuits brought against the company in the United States District Court of Connecticut, ordered on May 9th that the attorneys involved meet with their clients to discuss possible settlement offers that they would be happy with and that Bryant also ordered that attorneys from each side inform the court within 21 days of dates in June, July and August where all sides will be available to commit to a full and final settlement of these matters and devote an entire day to settlement discussions with Judge Thomas Smith, according to a report from PWInsider.com.
The report notes that WWE filed paperwork on May 12th following up on their request for a Summary Judgment that would end the case against them by former WWE superstar Vito LoGrasso and former developmental wrestler Evan Singleton and that the court had previously thrown out all claims against WWE in their lawsuit, with the exception of the allegation that the WWE was fraudulent with passing on their knowledge of potential head injuries that could happen from performing as a professional wrestler for the company, something the court allowed to stand, feeling that it was within the realm of possibility.
The report states that in that filing, WWE reminded the court that despite LoGrasso’s claims that the WWE were responsible for his health issues, he stated that during his deposition that he never informed Vince McMahon, Stephanie McMahon, John Laurinaitis or WWE’s doctor at the time, Dr. Rios, of any head injuries that he suffered while performing for the company and that LoGrasso had claimed that his health issues began following a September 2006 concussion, however WWE stated that they only learned of the dangers of CTE when LoGrasso and the rest of the world did, back in September 2007 and pointed out that LoGrasso in the years since leaving the company, never told the WWE about his symptoms and that he admitted during his deposition that he never reached out and told the company.
WWE’s motion filed on May 12th stated, “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”. WWE stated that LoGrasso’s remaining claim against them was both time-barred and meritless, while in the case of Evan Singleton, WWE’s motion stated, “his 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.”
The report further notes that WWE’s motion also noted that Singleton admitted during his deposition that WWE held 14 presentations about health, including concussions, during his time under contract, but does not recall attending the one that he was required to attend and that WWE’s motion stated, “these presentations negate fraudulent intent to keep performers in the dark”. The motion also reiterated that Chris Nowinski, who the Plaintiffs alleged was working for the WWE during the time period that he wrote Head Games, his book on the effects of concussions, was not working for the WWE at the time, was not at the company headquarters at that time and that his only conversations with Vince McMahon were in regards to the criticisms that Nowinski made of the company publicly, which WWE state that Nowinski later apologized for and that McMahon’s deposition stated that he was unaware of what was in the book as he had not read it and did not pariticpate in any conversations regarding the book of Nowinski’s research.