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WWE Concussion Suits Updates – August 2016
Suit #2: Laurinaitis, et al vs. WWE
Week of August 29 Updates
Attorneys for the Plaintiffs (Joe Laurinaitis, et al) filed a new document on Friday (September 2) claiming there is “no good cause” for the defendants (WWE and Vince McMahon) to request an “emergency motion” attempting to transfer the case into the existing concussion lawsuit.
The Plaintiffs also claimed that WWE/McMahon have not cooperated with their requests to participate in a planning conference. Therefore, the plaintiffs proposed to the U.S. District Court of Connecticut a schedule of dates to move the case along.
Included is the Plaintiffs believing they will need 20 depositions and “more than 25” interrogatories in the discovery phase. In summary, the plaintiffs believe the case “will be ready for trial within two years of the commencement of discovery.”
WWE is attempting to prevent the case from advancing that for, arguing that the case should be rolled into the existing concussion-related lawsuit presented by Vito LoGrasso and Evan Singleton. However, the Plaintiffs filed this as a RICO racketeering case and the existing suit is a personal injury suit. The presiding judge in the new RICO case has not ruled on the merits of rolling this suit into the existing case. As noted, the Plaintiffs are arguing that WWE’s request should be denied.
Week of August 22 Updates
– In a nine-page filing with the U.S. District Court of Connecticut, the Plaintiffs (Joe Laurinaitis, et al) came out very strongly against WWE’s emergency motion for a status conference and extension of time request.
The Plaintiffs’s attorneys claimed there is “no good cause” for WWE & Vince McMahon’s motion, while also labeling it a “violation of the rules.”
The filing included a note that attorneys for both sides have been in communication over the legal matter and “during these communications, Defendants have not mentioned this status conference, or the purported emergency necessitating their requested relief.”
The plaintiffs’s attorneys also took exception to the legal cases cited by WWE in their request for an emergency hearing and extension of time to respond to the suit.
The filing also addressed WWE’s attitude about the suit, which the Plaintiffs interpreted as dismissive or flippant because WWE has been hit with similar suits over the past two years. Plaintiffs argued that “this action contains multiple new Defendants – Vincent K. McMahon and various family trusts through which he exercises total control over the affairs of the Defendant, WWE.”
One of the central issues in the case is WWE trying to merge this second lawsuit into the pre-existing Vito LoGrasso/Evan Singleton concussion suit. However, this suit was filed as a RICO racketeering suit additionally naming Vince McMahon as a defendant, whereas the other case is a personal injury suit.
The filing from the Plaintiffs concludes: “Plaintiffs respectfully request this Court to deny the Defendants’s Emergency Motion in its entirety, and strike the unresponsive and wildly inappropriate accusations of Plaintiffs’s Counsel from the record. Plaintiffs additionally request that if the Motion is not denied in its entirety, that Plaintiffs be permitted an additional 14 days to reply to the numerous unfounded, untimely, and improper allegations and requests for relief made their ’emergency’ motion for a status conference.”
The court has not yet responded to the request from the Plaintiffs.
Week of August 15 Updates
– WWE and Vince McMahon requested and were granted an extension of time to file their preliminary response to the second major concussion lawsuit headlined by “Road Warrior” Animal Joe Laurinaitis.
WWE & McMahon’s attorneys filed a motion on Tuesday (August 16) requesting an initial extension of 30 days to October 19 to “file an answer or a motion addressed to the Complaint in this action.”
WWE argued that the extension of time was necessary because the complaint “was brought by 53 individual Plaintiffs, spans 214 pages and 667 paragraphs, and purports to assert 17 different counts. Due to the length and prolixity of the Complaint, a 30-day extension of time to respond to it is plainly warranted.”
On Wednesday (Aug. 17), presiding judge Warren W. Eginton approved the request and ordered a new deadline of October 19.
The other major issue at-play is what Judge Eginton will decide on WWE’s petition for this case be consolidated with the other ongoing concussion suit brought on by Vito LoGrasso and Evan Singleton.
The Laurinaitis case was filed as a Racketeering case in the U.S. District Court of Connecticut, which is different than the LoGrasso/Singleton “Personal Injury” suit presided over by Judge Vanessa L. Bryant.
Week of August 12 Updates
WWE was active this week attempting to expedite a decision on whether the case will proceed. As noted before, the new lawsuit of 53 former wrestling talents against WWE and Vince McMahon, individually, was filed as a RICO racketeering case (as opposed to the personal injury claim of LoGrasso/Singleton vs. WWE) in the same U.S. District Court of Connecticut.
Along those lines, WWE and Vince McMahon filed a motion for a “emergency status conference” on Wednesday (August 10). The stated reason was “to discuss matters of urgency related to the management of this case.”
WWE’s lead attorney Jerry McDevitt noted there are “already pending in this district six related cases all of which have been consolidated before the Honorable Vanessa L. Bryant.” The filing continues that “each of the consolidated cases concerns allegations that WWE is somehow liable for long-term neurodegenerative injuries, including CTE, purportedly suffered by former WWE wrestlers.”
McDevitt went on to criticize the legal approach by the Plaintiffs’s lead attorney Konstantine Kyros, then summarized that defendants WWE and Vince McMahon request an “in-person status conference before the presiding judge at the Court’s earliest convenience.”
McDevitt wrote that “it is critical that this case receive close management from the outset and the Court and the parties should address procedures for the efficient disposition of Plaintiffs’s claims.”
Following the filing on Wednesday, the U.S. District court recorded Jerry McDevitt appearing on behalf of Vince McMahon on Friday (August 12) as his legal representative.
Judge Bryant does not have jurisdiction over this case, since it’s a RICO case, but WWE is hoping that it will be consolidated into the legal matter of LoGrasso & Singleton.
The presiding judge is Warren W. Eginton in the Racketeering division. It remains to be seen what Judge Eginton decides.
– August 1: Monday was the deadline to file dispositive motions in the U.S. District Court of Connecticut for the LoGrasso & Singleton vs. WWE concussion lawsuit.
WWE filed several motions, including a motion for summary judgment requesting the court dismiss the remaining claim against WWE of “fraud by omission,” alleging that WWE did not and should have provided adequate concussion-related information to wrestlers prior to working for the company.
WWE claimed to be “entitled to judgment as a matter of law.” In the five-page filing, WWE’s lead attorney Jerry McDevitt wrote six points underscoring the claim.
McDevitt concluded: “The Court should grant WWE’s motion for summary judgment and enter judgment in WWE’s favor on Plaintiffs’s sole remaining fraud by omission claim.”
A response to the motion is due by August 22.
In addition to the motion for summary judgment, WWE filed a motion to seal WWE’s Memo of Law in support of their motion for summary judgment. WWE filed another motion to seal a statement from WWE.
READ MORE: FULL UPDATE FROM JULY