WWE Might Come Out on Top in Wrestling Brain Injury Suits
Back in 2015, more than 50 former wrestlers and performers filed suit against the WEE, alleging that it hid the risk of brain trauma and failed to offer wrestlers necessary medical attention and support. The suit alleged that the former wrestlers suffer from long-term brain damage and the development of chronic traumatic encephalopathy, known as CTE, the Alzheimer’s-like neurodegenerative disease related to repeated hits to the head. The wrestler’s claimed that the WWE knew about the potential for brain injury, and was not only negligent in its failure to address it, but also withheld the risks as well. The complaint stated that the “WWE placed corporate gain over its wrestlers’ health, safety, and financial security, choosing to leave the plaintiffs severely injured with no recourse to treat their damaged minds and bodies.” For its part, WWE brought a declaratory judgment suit against the wrestlers seeking a declaration that any traumatic brain injury claims, or claims of negligence or fraudulent activity by the wrestlers, are time-barred.
Over time, the WWE has been steadily getting rid of some of the lawsuits and claims against it. Some claims were dismissed because some of the former wrestlers did not wrestle after the WWE was alleged to have learned of a link between concussions and degenerative neurological diseases in 2005. Additional cases were thrown out that claimed the deaths of ex-wrestlers were directly linked to chronic traumatic encephalopathy. The only remaining claims against the WWE are for fraud by omission, and a summary judgment motion by WWE is currently pending.
The federal judge assigned to hear the cases said she is leaning toward ruling for the WWE, however she is giving the wrestlers a chance to file more concise pleadings first. U.S. Connecticut federal district court judge Vanessa L. Bryant said she will hold off granting WWE’s motion for judgment on the pleadings in its lawsuit seeking declaratory judgment against a group of wrestlers, and will not yet grant the company’s motion to dismiss in the separate head trauma case, deciding to reserve judgment “in an abundance of deference” to the wrestlers in each instance.