According to a report from the Associated Press, the United States Supreme Court has declined to hear the Brain Damage Case against the WWE, a list of appeals from several former pro-wrestlers who had claimed in the lawsuits that World Wrestling Entertainment failed to protect them from repeated head injuries that led to long term brain damage.
The former wrestlers asked the High Court to review the lower court rulings that dismissed the lawsuits due to being filed too late, the plantiffs involved were the following: William “Billy Jack” Haynes, Russ “Big Russ” McCullough, Ryan Sakoda, Matthew “Luther Reigns” Wiese and the wife of the late Nelson “Viscera” Frazier, also known as Big Daddy V, who died in 2014.
Regarding Monday’s Decision, The Supreme Court did not explain in its usual practice, by putting an end to the last remaining lawsuits in an array of litigations that were filed six years ago in Connecticut against the WWE, over concussions and other injuries, a reminder that World Wrestling Entertainment is based in Stanford. More than 50 former pro-wrestlers, dating from the 1980s and 1990s, have sued the WWE, have said that the wrestlers have suffered repeated head injuries including concussions that led to long-term brain damage. They accused the WWE of knowing of the risks of head injuries but not warning its wrestlers. The former pro-wrestlers suffered repeated head injuries including concussions that led to long-term brain damage.
Other wrestlers who had filed against the WWE were Jimmy “Superfly” Snuka, Joseph “Road Warrior Animal” Laurinaitis, Paul “Mr. Wonderful” Orndorff, Chris “King Kong Bundy” Pallies, and Harry Masayoshi Fujiwara, known as Mr. Fuji. Snuka and Fujiwara died in 2017 and 2016 respectively, both were diagnosed with chronic traumatic encephalopathy or CTE, after their deaths, according to their lawyers. Pallies and Laurinaitis died in 2019 and 2020, respectively, but of undisclosed causes. Other plaintiffs have dementia and other illnesses the lawsuit said.
Several lawsuits were dismissed in 2018 by U.S. District Judge Vanessa Bryant in Hartford, Connecticut. Bryant ruled there was no evidence the WWE knew while the plaintiffs were wrestling that concussions or head blows during matches caused CTE or other long-term injuries. The rulings were upheld last year by a federal appeals court in New York City.
The WWE denied wrongdoing and said the lawsuits had no merit.
“We’re glad its finally over,” Jerry McDevitt, a lawyer for the WWE, said Monday. “We were completely vindicated.”
There has been scrutiny around the prevalence of CTE in recent years, this issue has been raised in contact sports and it includes the National Football League. Around 2016 and 2017, the league finally acknowledged that there was a link between football and CTE after the company spent years trying to avoid the subject, and the mere mention of it altogether. Also the same year, the company issued a statement and pledged $100 million for independent medical research into neuroscience-related topics.
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