Pair of wrongful death suits against WWE dismissed

By Kevin Zimmerman

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A pair of wrongful death lawsuits against the WWE were dismissed on Nov. 10 by U.S. District Judge Vanessa Bryant for the District of Connecticut. The lawsuits were filed by Michelle James, girlfriend of wrestler “Maniac” Matt Osborne, who died in 2013 from an accidental opiate overdose, and Cassandra Frazier, wife of “Big Daddy V” Nelson Frazier, who died in 2014 from a heart attack.

wwe-logoBoth cases claimed the former WWE performers suffered brain damage while working for the Stamford company, which led to their deaths at the respective ages of 55 and 42.

In the Osborne case, Bryant ruled that James had provided insufficient evidence that he had suffered from chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE), a progressive degenerative disease found in people who have suffered a severe blow or repeated blows to the head. In addition, she ruled that James was ineligible to file a wrongful death suit as she is neither an administrator nor executor of Osborne’s estate.

Regarding Frazier, the judge’s dismissal was based upon a failure to present a plausible link between his death and wrongful acts perpetrated by WWE. She also dismissed the claim that Frazier could have survived the heart attack had he not suffered from CTE, calling it “another bald and baseless allegation, which the court deems unworthy of the barest measure of credibility.”

Neither wrestler had his brain examined postmortem for CTE symptoms.

Bryant also dismissed a WWE motion for sanctions against opposing attorney Konstantine Kyros for offering “false and misleading statements.”

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