Sports

Ex-wrestlers take brain damage case to SCOTUS

HARTFORD, Conn. — Dozens of former professional wrestlers who’ve claimed in lawsuits that World Wrestling Entertainment failed to shield them from repeated head accidents are taking their case to the U.S. Supreme Court.

A lawyer for the previous wrestlers, most of them stars within the Nineteen Eighties and Nineties, filed a request late Wednesday asking the Supreme Court to hear appeals of decrease courtroom rulings that dismissed the lawsuits. Lower courts stated the fits have been frivolous or filed after the statute of limitations expired.

Among the plaintiffs have been Jimmy “Superfly” Snuka, Joseph “Road Warrior Animal” Laurinaitis, Paul “Mr. Wonderful” Orndorff, Chris “King Kong Bundy” Pallies and Harry Masayoshi Fujiwara, referred to as Mr. Fuji.

The wrestlers stated they suffered repeated head accidents, together with concussions that led to long-term brain damage, and accused the WWE of realizing of the dangers of head accidents however not warning its wrestlers.

The WWE, based mostly in Stamford, Connecticut, continues to deny the allegations and says the lawsuits are with out benefit, a spokesperson stated Thursday.

Snuka and Fujiwara died in 2017 and 2016, respectively, and each have been recognized with persistent traumatic encephalopathy, or CTE, after their deaths, in accordance to their lawyer. Pallies and Laurinaitis died in 2019 and 2020, respectively, of undisclosed causes. Other plaintiffs have dementia and different sicknesses, the lawsuit stated.

More than 50 former wrestlers have filed lawsuits in opposition to the WWE. In September, the 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in New York City dismissed the litigation. The courtroom upheld 2018 rulings by federal decide Vanessa Bryant in Connecticut, who stated there was no proof the WWE knew concussions or head blows throughout wrestling matches brought about CTE.

The lawyer for the previous wrestlers, Konstantine Kyros, who is predicated in Hingham, Massachusetts, criticized the rulings and stated the previous wrestlers have been “deprived of their fundamental rights as U.S. citizens, including their right to appeal.”

Kyros stated the 2nd Circuit courtroom rejected earlier appeals as a result of closing rulings had not been made in all of the lawsuits. After Bryant made these closing rulings in 2018, Kyros appealed once more. But he stated the 2nd Circuit additionally rejected these appeals, saying they have been filed too late in accordance to a brand new authorized precedent set by the U.S. Supreme Court.

In her 2018 ruling, Bryant additionally criticized Kyros for repeatedly failing to adjust to courtroom guidelines and orders and ordered him to pay WWE’s authorized charges — greater than $500,000.

Unlike soccer and hockey, by which gamers have suffered comparable accidents, WWE matches contain strikes scripted and choreographed by the WWE, thus making the corporate immediately liable for wrestlers’ accidents, the lawsuits stated.

The National Football League and National Hockey League additionally have been sued by former gamers who suffered concussions and different head accidents. The NFL settled for $1 billion, and the NHL settled for $18.9 million.

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