Former ROH Women Of Honor World Champion Kelly Klein has filed a lawsuit against Ring Of Honor Wrestling and its parent company, Sinclair Broadcasting Group, claiming breach of implied contract, unpaid royalties, violation of equal pay acts, harassment and unsafe work environment, according to a report from HeelByNature, who note that Ring of Honor’s Greg Gilliand, Hunter ‘Delirious’ Johnson, ROH COO Joe Koff and Jamar ‘Jay Lethal’ Shipman are also named in the lawsuit.

In the 28-page lawsuit, Klein cites Ring of Honor Wrestling’s negligence and illegal actions resulting in injuries for not only herself, but other wrestlers, noting that “As a result of Defendants’ negligence and illegal actions, Klein and other wrestlers suffered many injuries while performing servives for Ring Of Honor” and that although professional wrestling matches are pre-determined, the action that occurs in the ring can lead to serious injury and as such, wrestling companies are supposed to maintain proper and adequate medical personnel on-site and render proper medical care, noting that Ring of Honor Wrestling did not provide adequate medical supervision, evaluation, or care at wrestling matches for Klein and their other performers.

The lawsuit alleges that on or about September 16th, 2016, Klein had a wrestling match at the Stage AE in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania and hit her head and neck on a steel guardrail during the match and that nobody employed or engaged by Defendants’ checked on her condition and that no medical staff was available to evaluate her, noting that immediately following the match, she reported her injury to BJ Whitmer, who was Defendants’ agent in charge of the match, but that no medical treatment was made available. Klein stated that she continued to suffer from headaches and pain from the impact of the guardrail through October 2016, so she told Hunter Johnston that she was going to seek treatment for the pain, however Johnston did not offer any information, guidance or information regarding treatment and that she sought the treatment at her own expense, was never reimbursed any of the costs by Defendants, and Defendants never reached out to her about her injuries, or the costs related thereto. Klein alleges that on or about April 7th, 2018 at the UNO Arena in New Orleans, Louisiana, Klein was wrestling another female who kicked her in the head and pulled on her head, causing a concussion and that as a result of being disoriented from the concussion, she was unable to ‘kick out’ of a pin atempt (kick her legs such that her shoulders would be raised from the match, which would signal the referee to stop counting the pin), thereby resulting in the wrong finish for the scripted ending of the match and that despite Defendants knowing that the finish of the match was botched, Defendants did not check on her and that she reported the injury to Defendants’ agent in charge of the match, BJ Whitmer, but that there were no medical personnel available to address her injury and no medical treatment was rendered, while she never sought treatment for her concussion.

Klein alleges that on or about June 2nd, 2018, her tooth was broken in a Ring of Honor Wrestling match at the Hammerstein Ballroom at the Manhattan Center in New York City and that again, she reported the injury to Defendants’ agent in charge of the match, BJ Whitmer, but that there were no medical personnel available to address her injury and no medical treatment was rendered, while she sought medical treatment from a dentist for her injury and the tooth was capped and that despite Ring Of Honor Wrestling asking Klein for her x-rays and referencing her broken tooth, both on their website and on an episode of their television show (Episode 356 – Air Date 7/13/2018), the Defendants never followed up to check on her, request that she submit her medical bills or to reimburse her and that per her request, she was eventually reimbursed for the medical treatment related to the chipped tooth. Klein alleges that on or about December 14th, 2018, she had an in-person conversation with Ian Riccaboni, an announcer for Ring of Honor Wrestling, advising him that many of the female wrestlers did not feel safe in the wrestling ring with women wrestlers who were reckless and not properly trained and that she advised Riccaboni that ROH management did not take the safety of their performers seriously, otherwise a lot of the female talent egnaged by Ring Of Honor Wrestling would not be participating in matches, noting that Riccaboni told her that he understood the concern, but that Todd Sinclair, who was the main booker for female matches, really liked those ‘reckless’ women wrestlers, but that he would have a talk with him about it. Klein alleges that on or about January 30th, 2019, she had a conversation with Todd Sinclair in Baltimore, Maryland regarding her safety concerns, specifically female talent being forced to work in matches they felt unsafe in and with people they did not feel safe with and that Sinclair told her that it was the first he had heard about these issues, despite her previously overhearing another performer complaining to Sinclair about certain wrestlers being reckless and unsafe and that Sinclair further explained that the unsafe, reckless women were only booked for a few more dates and asked that Klein work through those dates and that in the future, Klein and others would be asked ahead of time if they agreed to work with those problematic performers. Klein states that she had a similar conversation following a March 15th, 2019 match in Las Vegas, Nevada with Sinclair, Johnston and other Ring of Honor Wrestling agents, wherein she was also injured, but that the conversation fell on deaf ears and she did not seek treatment for her injury in the match.

In regards to harassment, Klein claims that she and all other female wrestlers were paid a lower wage than their comparable male counterparts and cites an incident in January 2017 where Jamar ‘Jay Lethal’ Shipman approached her and made her feel uncomfortable. Klein alleges that during the time that the Agreement and Amendment was in effect, she and all other female wrestlers were paid a lower wage than their comparable male counterparts and that on or about January 13th, 2017, while she was in a hot tub near the pool of a hotel where the wrestlers were staying the night before an event, Shipman approached her and while leering at her in a way that made her uncomfortable, started harassing her by asking her questions about whether her boyfriend was there, if she was staying in the hotel alone and how long she would be at the hotel, behavior that made her very uncomfortable. Klein alleges that on or about January 25th, 2017, she received an e-mail from Ring Of Honor Wrestling management, advising her and the other wrestlers that Shipman would be the new agent assigned to work with the female wrestlers and that one day later, she responded to the e-mail and explained that she had witnessed and experienced several situations with Shipman that made her uncomfortable to work with him and advised ROH management that she was not willing to work with Shipman and requested that another agent be assigned to her matches and that she had not expressed this sooner for fear of backlash or retaliation. Klein alleges that in February of 2017, BJ Whitmer, another male wrestler signed to Ring of Honor Wrestling, was informed by Shipman that Johnston had informed Shipman that Klein had complained about him. Klein also alleges that in July of 2018, Sinclair Broadcasting Group, by and through their human resources department, spoke with her regarding another female wrestler’s complaints regarding Shipman and that she informed the department of her situation with Shipman in 2017 and was informed that no information had been received and no investigation was done, while she also informed the department that Shipman knew that she had accused him of sexually harassing behavior.

Klein, according to the documents, is seeking $75,000 for a multitude of reasons, including, but not limited to the following:

– Declaratory judgment from this Court as set forth and requested herein

– Compensatory damages including, but not limited to past and future medical bills, past and future lost wages, and lost earning capacity

– Damages as set forth in Md. Code Ann. Lab. & Empl. § 3-307(a) and/or 29 U.S.C. § 206(d)

– Annoyance, aggravation, inconvenience, loss of enjoyment of life, emotional distress; mental anguish

– Consequential and incidental damages; (F) Court costs and expenses incurred in this action

– Pre and post-judgment interest; (H) Attorneys’ costs and fees

– All such damages and relief as are available under Maryland Code § 2-305, et seq. or other applicable Maryland law

– All such other and further relief as this Court deems just and proper.