Fifty-three retired wrestlers are suing World Wrestling Entertainment Inc., claiming that it is responsible for and had prior knowledge of the effects of repeated neurological injuries sustained in the ring.
“WWE wrestling matches, unlike other contact sports, involve very specific moves that are scripted, controlled, directed and choreographed by WWE,” says the suit, filed in U.S. District Court in Connecticut. “As such the moves that resulted in named plaintiffs’ head injuries were the direct result of the WWE’s actions.”
The suit — alleging negligence, fraud and intentional deprivation of statutory rights — seeks declaratory relief, compensatory and punitive damages, and includes a demand that WWE purchase worker’s compensation insurance for the wrestlers and provide health insurance.
Among the plaintiffs is Jimmy “Superfly” Snuka, who was found unfit last month to stand trial on murder charges stemming from the 1983 beating death of his girlfriend, due to dementia caused by repeated head trauma.
The suit posits that Stamford-based WWE “deliberately ignored and actively concealed … medically important and possibly lifesaving information about specific neurological conditions like CTE [chronic traumatic encephalopathy] that afflict wrestlers and contact sports athletes with similar clinical histories of head trauma.” CTE has been at the center of numerous lawsuits filed against the NFL by former players.
“This is another ridiculous attempt by the same attorney [Konstantine Kyros] who has previously filed class action lawsuits against WWE, both of which have been dismissed,” WWE said in a statement. “We’re confident this lawsuit will suffer the same fate as his prior attempts and be dismissed.”