The WWE has been hit with a class action lawsuit by 50 former professional wrestlers, who blame the company for long-term brain damage.
According to the AP, Jimmy “Superfly” Snuka, Road Warrior Animal and Mr. Wonderful are among the 50-plus plaintiffs who filed the lawsuit against the WWE and its chairman Vince McMahon Monday (July 18) in federal court in Connecticut.
“WWE placed corporate gain over its wrestlers’ health, safety, and financial security, choosing to leave the plaintiffs severely injured and with no recourse to treat their damaged minds and bodies,” says the lawsuit, which doesn’t specifiy an amount the former wrestlers are seeking.
The wrestlers hold the WWE responsible for repeated head trauma suffered during their career, including concussions, that resulted in long-term brain damage.
Snuka, 73, was found mentally incompetent to stand trial in the 1983 death of his girlfriend last month. His attorneys partly blamed the crime on head trauma he suffered as a pro-wrestler.
According to the lawsuit, the WWE’s matches involve specific moves scripted and choreographed by the company, which unlike other professional sports, make them directly responsible for wrestlers’ injuries.
The WWE, however, denied the allegations in a statement, saying the same attorney has filed similar claims without success. “This is another ridiculous attempt by the same attorney who has previously filed class action lawsuits against WWE, both of which have been dismissed,” the company’s statement said. “A federal judge has already found that this lawyer made patently false allegations about WWE, and this is more of the same. We’re confident this lawsuit will suffer the same fate as his prior attempts and be dismissed.”
Konstantine Kyros had two previous class-action lawsuits dismissed against the WWE over concussions, while two unlawful death lawsuits against WWE remain pending. The pending lawsuits were filed by the families of the late Matt “Doink the Clown” Osborne and Nelson Frazier Jr., who wrestled as Big Daddy V, Viscera and Mabel.
Osborne die of a drug overdose in 2013. The lawsuit claims repeated concussions led to drug abuse and depression. The lawsuit involving Frazier alleges his brain injuries played a role in his death in 2014 from a heart attack.
The WWE also denies the allegations in both cases.