Tarnished Twenty- The FindLaw Sports Law Blog

Judge KOs WWE Concussion Lawsuits

Just as former NFL players had done with their league, dozens of professional wrestlers had filed lawsuits claiming World Wrestling Entertainment knew of the risks of repeated head injuries and concussions and failed to warn them. But six of those lawsuits didn't follow the script, according to a federal judge in WWE's home state of Connecticut.

U.S. District Judge Vanessa Bryant tossed a series of suits over the top rope for failing to "comply with Federal Rules of Civil Procedure" or even "set forth the factual basis of their claims or defenses clearly and concisely in separately numbered paragraphs."

Due Diligence and Deference

Bryant clearly was not impressed with the wrestlers' lawyer, Konstantine Kyros, who the court noted had not "conducted factual due diligence" before filing the suits. And even though the judge gave the wrestlers and their legal counsel a chance to fix the defects, their failure likely means the end of their legal claims. "The complaints in the initial actions consolidated before this Court were nearly identical," Judge Bryant wrote. "They were exceedingly long and consisted of paragraphs asserting generalities, legal conclusions and facts unrelated to the plaintiffs' claims."

The court also noted the wrestlers' court filings were rife with "inaccurate, irrelevant, or
frivolous" allegations:

Despite repeatedly requesting that plaintiffs' counsel exclude irrelevant allegations and ensure that each claim in each consolidated case have a reasonable factual and legal basis, this Court has, in an abundance of deference to the wrestler plaintiffs and to the detriment of WWE, applied a liberal pleading standard more suited to a pro se plaintiff than to a licensed attorney asserting claims on behalf of an entire class.

Further Amendment Would Be Futile

Despite all that deference, Kyros still couldn't get it right. "[T]he Court finds that further amendment would be futile," Bryant noted, "and that only the award of attorney's fees and costs would deter Attorney Kyros from committing future violations" of court procedure rules. Therefore, Kyros (and not his clients) must now pay all the legal fees WWE's attorneys incurred defending the lawsuit.

In addition, "in order to protect the public," the court ordered Kyros send by a copy of the ruling to his co-counsel, each of the wrestler plaintiffs, and "any other future, current, or former WWE wrestler who has retained or in the future does retain his legal services to file suit against WWE alleging an injury sustained during their wrestling contract with WWE."

Kyros says he will appeal the ruling, but we're guessing his clients don't get up off the mat after this one.

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