WWE Granted Phone Record Request; Wrestlers Ask for Reconsideration
On November 9, 2017, the Connecticut district court granted World Wrestling Entertainment Inc.’s (WWE) request for phone records of calls between Marcus “Buff” Bagwell and Scott “Raven” Levy and attorney Matthew T. Peterson. WWE wanted the phone records to show that Peterson solicited the two former wrestlers to file the royalty suit against the WWE. The judge granted WWE’s motion because the wrestler’s attorney did not respond to the motion in time. The wrestlers had until noon on November 9 to file their response to WWE’s motion to compel.
The lawsuit Bagwell and Levy filed against the WWE is for alleged failure to pay them, and other wrestlers, millions in royalties for pay-per-views and matches they were in that are now on the WWE Network, an on-demand streaming service launched in 2014. Prior to the WWE’s motion to compel the phone records, which were previously given in a redacted form, WWE had filed a motion to compel an email between Peterson and Levy and to compel Levy to testify about their meeting. WWE based their motion for the phone records on Bagwell’s recorded interview on the wrestling fan podcast “Pancakes and Powerslams.”
In response to the judge granting WWE’s motion to compel based on a filing deadline error, the wrestlers filed a motion for reconsideration. The wrestlers’ attorneys claimed they were unaware of the noon deadline due to a technical error. The dates for WWE’s motion to compel and the wrestlers’ response were set in a telephone conference, and the wrestler’s attorneys alleged their notes only referenced a November 9, 2017 deadline to respond, but no specific time to file. The wrestlers’ attorneys also claimed they never received the email with the Court’s Order about the time schedule due to technical issues with the email server. They stated although the issues with the server were fixed, the missed emails did not re-send after the fix. However, the wrestlers’ attorneys urged the court to look to their response they ultimately did file. In their response, the wrestlers claimed the redacted phone records were already supplied to WWE and the only information redacted was charges assessed to the phone calls and the duration. The wrestlers argued the redacted information is irrelevant to the case and WWE never provided authority or explanations as to what the redacted information would be relevant to establish. The wrestlers urged the court not to hold the technical error against them.