No Justice for Jon Heidenreich? Court Cites his Injuries as “Irrelevant Allegations” In Opinion. Read His Affidavit to The Judge

Heart of a Warrior: Read Jon Heidenreich’s Plea to Judge

On September 29, 2017- almost a year ago the Connecticut Federal Court overseeing the wrestlers claims ordered Mr. Kyros and the lawyers representing the wrestlers to get an affidavit from each, writing:” The Court assumes that Attorney Kyros had a good faith belief that the allegations in the Laurinaitis complaint … were true based on interviews with his clients, in which each revealed information about his or her relationship with WWE. Counsel should therefore have no difficulty producing these affidavits within 35 days.” If we did not produce the affidavits the court would dismiss the claims and award sanctions.

Despite the undertone of derision towards Mr. Kyros, and an almost impossible deadline- try getting 60 affidavits from anyone in 35 days never mind from 60 professional wrestlers! BUT finally a chance to talk directly and explain to the Judge that the allegations were real, made in good faith and very important to understand the factual basis of each of the wrestlers legal claims.

The wrestlers all came through and we were able to get all of the affidavits and file them with the Court by near-impossible to meet 35 day deadline! We worked together round the clock all October to get it done!

But last week the court on September 17, 2018 ruled against the wrestlers anyway with little to no mention of the affidavits other than reciting the order to deliver them and confirming that they were submitted.

On page 36 of last week’s order dismissing the lawsuit the court writes: “In addition to these irrelevant allegations*  are numerous others, including a list of physical injuries that have nothing to do with concussions or head trauma, incurred by several Plaintiffs in the ring. [See SAC Paragraph 37 alleging that “Plaintiff Jon Heidenreich sustained serious shoulder injuries requiring multiple surgeries” and that ; Plaintiff Marty Jannetty sustained a severe broken ankle”]

* The other irrelevant allegations the court lists includes: “WWE is a monopoly that earns $500 million annually” “general observations from… a wrestler who is not a party to this lawsuit” [This is Jessie Ventura, you know the former Governor of Minnesota saying such irrelevancies as “Wrestling operated under some of the most unfair working conditions in the country. I don’t know how they got away with it for so many years”  Can anyone reading imagine how they got away with it?] and “WWE does not provide wrestlers with health insurance” Which the court referred to as a non-exhaustive list.

Below is the actual passage from the wrestlers lawsuit, the court calls “irrelevant allegations” and calls “a list of physical injuries that have nothing to do with concussions or head trauma,” As the astute reader will observe the lawsuit drafters appear to have found some examples to illustrate that the plaintiff wrestlers sustained some rather serious injuries some just possibly related to the head while wrestling.

According to an introductory section summarizing the claims at the beginning of the Wrestlers Lawsuit: “Other plaintiffs have documented serious injuries to their head, back, neck and shoulders from their WWE wrestling careers. These permanent injuries are strongly suggestive of past traumatic head injuries and evidence the WWE’s actual past and ongoing notice and awareness of the risk of long-term neurological issues.

I. Plaintiff Terry Brunk twice broke his neck in an ECW matches, and once broke his jaw;

II. Plaintiff Bryan Emmett Clark has had neck and back disc replacements and repair surgeries from injuries sustained in WWE matches;

III. Plaintiff Mark Canterbury sustained fractured C-7 vertebrae in a WWE match;

IV. Plaintiff Salvador Guerrero IV sustained a Subarachnoid hemorrhage in a WWE match. He also sustained an orbital bone fracture to his skull in a WWE match;

V. Plaintiff Barry Darsow sustained cracked vertebrae in a WWE match;

VI. Plaintiff Earl Hebner experienced brain bleeding shortly after being struck in the head with a metal suitcase refereeing a WWE match;

VII. Plaintiff Michael Halac sustained injuries to his cervical spine resulting in neck fusion surgery in a WWE match;

VIII. Plaintiff Jon Heidenreich sustained serious shoulder injuries requiring multiple surgeries from a WWE in-ring injury;

IX. Plaintiff Joe Laurinaitis sustained herniated two discs in his neck in a WWE match;

X. Plaintiff Shane Douglas sustained a fracture in his spine in a WWE event;

XI.  Plaintiff Vickie Otis sustained two cracked vertebrae in a WWE match;

XII. Plaintiff Sylvain Grenier sustained broken vertebrae in a WWE match;

XIII. Plaintiff Terry Szopinksi herniated two discs during his tenure at WWE;

XIV. Plaintiff Marty Jannetty sustained a severe broken ankle in a WWE match;

XV. Plaintiff Ashley Massaro herniated discs in C4 and C5 vertebrae in a WWE event.

These look like irrelevant allegations? “that have nothing to do with concussions or head trauma”!? As the Plaintiffs state these allegations are not irrelevant but go to the heart of the factual dispute in the case- namely what knowledge did WWE have about the long term health risks the plaintiffs would face as well as the more obvious fact that they ran an unsafe, unregulated workplace with no OSHA oversight in violation of labor laws by not providing workers compensation and so forth. Keep walking nothing to see here…

Btw we will have More on the inclusion of Marty’s ankle in another post.

X-Pac Versus Kyros: WWE Calls In Heavy Guns

The photo with Jon Heidenreich in the above post was taken at Legends of the Ring Fan Fest in New Jersey when I drove down to meet some of the wrestlers I already represented. This was rather too much for the WWE, their spies are everywhere! and they trotted out X-Pac to swear out his own weak affidavit in an attempt to discredit Mr. Kyros- the leading advocate for wrestlers legal rights, “I also learned that Mr. Kyros was handing his business card to former WWE wrestlers.” It is an emergency! Get X-Pac involved to stop the wrestlers, they are forming a union! they are talking to lawyers about their legal rights! Learning about CTE! It is a crisis!

Read Mr. Sean Waltman’s Stooge Affidavit by clicking on Image below.

Kyros Was There, It Was Definitely Him

Jimmy Snuka: World’s Most Famous Athlete Diagnosed with CTE? Court Gets it Wrong, CTE PROOF See below. Read Carole Snuka’s Plea to Judge

The lawsuits were brought because of WWE’s Continuing Refusal into 2018 to Admit Wrestlers are at Risk for CTE. The WWE Denies and Now the Court Dismissed the claims. The WWE’s lawyer even called for Mr. Kyros to be Disbarred. Decide for yourself, read on.

Jimmy Superfly Snuka, the world learned in November 2017 was diagnosed with Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy (CTE) as part of his Estates legal claims against the WWE for failing to protect, treat and help him and other wrestlers suffering from the disease. The donation and CTE study were coordinated by Konstantine Kyros after Jimmy died during the pendency of his lawsuit seeking to get help from the WWE.

The effect of the CTE diagnosis (and that of several others such as Rex King and Mr. Fuji) was not what one would have expected. Instead of the WWE realizing that there was just maybe something to all these wrestlers suing them for help, they simply ignored it. It was as if the diagnosis didn’t happen at all. There were no calls for increased research into wrestlers brain tissue, no donation drives, no calls for outreach to wrestlers with CTE symptoms, no alteration in tone and frequency of the legal attacks on the lawyers bringing the claims for the CTE-riddled wrestlers. It was as if the world’s most famous athlete diagnosed with CTE, Jimmy Superfly Snuka didn’t exist.

Ironically in the months before his death, the state of his brain was of intense interest for more media driven rather than public health reasons.

The debate over Mr. Snuka’s brain in his murder hearings, mirrors that of two competing views of reality in the WWE lawsuits:

A) The position of the Plaintiffs and their lawyers:
CTE is a known occupational disease that is a risk of wrestling which has resulted in a health crisis that requires immediate urgent WWE action in terms of study, medical treatment and compensation.

B) Or what is essentially WWE’s position:
Wrestling a relatively safe activity with an unquantified CTE risk. Wrestling has among its goals not to injure anyone and at present it is not worth a WWE funded, dedicated study of wrestlers brains for CTE. No WWE outreach, warnings, medical treatment are required for former wrestlers.

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Shortly before Jimmy’s, death, an expert, a certain John O’Brien testifying to support the prosecutions case to put Superfly on trial for a 1986 murder made the following observations before the presiding Judge: Mr. O’Brien, who examined Snuka in February (2016) and reviewed doctors’ reports on the wrestler, said there is no documented evidence that Snuka sustained even one concussion during his 40-year career in the ring.

But wait there’s more unusual insight from Dr. O’Brien:

The psychiatrist said the assertion that Snuka had suffered numerous concussions during his career came from the wrestler and his wife, not any doctor. O’Brien said he didn’t believe Snuka was ever at risk for serious head injury, despite his high-flying acrobatics in the ring. “It’s theater wrestling. It’s like stage fighting,” O’Brien said. “It’s not the same kind of injury you’d expect to see with heavyweight boxing or professional football.”

(Evocative of Triple H’s 2013 Statements at WWE ‘Donate’ $1.2 Million Dollars to the Nowinski NOT TO STUDY WRESTLERS BRAINS Press Conference? Levesque said pro wrestling is fundamentally different from football when it comes to hard impacts. “If you’re in the NFL, your goal is to try to hit the other guy as hard as possible. … The goal in what we do is the exact opposite,” said Levesque.)

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LEGAL THEORY of WWE’s LIABILITY:
Yesterday the court ruled against the Snuka family despite his confirmed CTE, Alzheimer’s diagnosis and his long-term ongoing relationship with WWE as one of their greatest stars.

Read Carole Snuka’s Personal Affidavit filed in the Laurinaitis case IGNORED by the Judge HERE.

The tragic Court ruling reads in part: “The affidavit does not support that Mr. Snuka suffered any head injuries or risked incurring such injuries later than 1996. … And Mr. Snuka has not alleged that any of his alleged injuries were incurred during WWE appearances post-dating 1996…. wrongful death actions are barred… survival actions are barred because the statutes of limitation or repose for each deceased Plaintiff’s other claims have elapsed.”

The court seems to have ruled essentially that in order to bring a claim for CTE- the underlying head injuries that cause CTE would have needed to occur within five years of the date he died. As will be easily demonstrated below this makes no sense.  The problem with this analysis in our view is that it ignores what CTE is:

1) A latent progressive degenerative disease found in athletes with a history of head injuries.
2) CTE is not linked to a single identified blow to the head, but rather from the accumulation of repeated sub-concussive blows.
3) Symptoms of CTE may not occur for many years after the blows to the head occurred.

So in essence the Snuka CTE claim could be said to arise from his exposure to head injuries in WWE, and so a Jury would need to decide what event or events would determine what started the clock ticking on whether his estate could bring a claim under the deadlines imposed by Connecticut Law. The Judge seems to have adopted, on what factual or medical basis is unknown as she does not say directly, an injury-in-fact type event which began this hypothetical clock ticking.

Under the science of CTE progression, the Judge’s ruling would seem to foreclose most legal claims for neurological occupational disease type injuries. Asbestos exposure claims for example would be barred if a worker was exposed 20 years before he or she developed mesothelioma cancer. The majority of courts looking at these problems have decided to allow experts and Juries to make this determination absent some clear case law. Connecticut appears to impose a fact type analysis on what constitutes the appropriate date to start the clock. When Snuka retired from wrestling and began to experience symptoms, say 10 years after retirement, perhaps the WWE could argue that that was the appropriate date for the clock to start. Plaintiffs contended that Tau protein being released are continuous present physical injuries that could be used to decide a trigger date. In any event these facts, we argue are medical-legal questions prematurely decided.

Seemingly some ‘experts’ were fighting out in the year before Mr. Snuka died whether he had anything wrong with his brain (as above), but below is the proof —as had been alleged in the tossed lawsuit that he had neurological diseases including CTE. As such this would seem to be a possible trigger date for the statute to start running- and not as the Judge ruled the year 1996. In any event the the claim is not frivolous and by way of example: NFL players who were diagnosed with CTE in the NFL lawsuit that sustained accumulated head injuries many years before (decades in some cases) they were diagnosed with CTE were eligible for awards of upto $4,000,000 dollars.

Conclusion: The Judge and WWE don’t GET it.

MY FRIENDS: DO NOT DESPAIR. WE ARE APPEALING

Today a single Federal Judge ruled against the 60 wrestlers and their families in the Laurinaitis case, and ignored their many personal appeals in dozens of affidavits filed with the court. We will have more to say soon, but please keep positive and know that we are fighting every day to get help for everyone.  Here is a very brief statement:

“I stand for professional wrestlers who face the prospect of losing their identity and consciousness to the effects of a latent occupational disease that robs them of their sanity, comfort of their families and memories of everything they achieved entertaining the millions of people who love them.

The lawsuits include some of the world’s most famous athletes including those diagnosed with CTE by the world’s foremost expert in CTE, including Jimmy Snuka and Mr. Fuji, whose brains were studied because of our advocacy and dedication to getting help for former WWE performers.

The opinions expressed in today’s decision about my strong advocacy are inaccurate, bizarre and unworthy of the court. The reasoning of the opinion itself is flimsy as the court finds, in ignorance of the facts, that there is no reasonable basis for the assertions, despite a substantial body of medical peer reviewed literature going back almost a hundred years. In any event these are Jury issues as the plaintiffs demonstrated that the WWE knew about the risks of head injuries long before the 2007 date the court invents (see Dr. Omalu’s Quote above). Additionally the WWE misclassified, exploited, injured these people in violation of labor laws and continues to ignore that CTE even exists in professional wrestling. It is a sad ruling, and we trust the wrestlers claims will be better received in the appeals courts. I will continue to fight and advocate for wrestlers legal rights despite this tragic opinion that attempts to cast down my clients hopes for better lives.”

Sincerely,
Konstantine Kyros

NFL Case. WWE Attorney Jerry McDevitt’s Unusual Outbursts About Kyros’ Representation of NFL Players

After winning this round of the dismissal of the 60 plaintiffs claims in the Laurinatis case, WWE attorney Jerry McDevitt was not cheerful about the outcome, after reading the wrestlers lawyers statement he called for Mr. Kyros to be Disbarred and added this odd quote: “This is the same kind of drivel Kyros pawned off on former wrestlers when soliciting them to sue WWE by false statements that he had obtained a billion dollar settlement for NFL players and would do the same for wrestlers, when in fact he had absolutely nothing to do with getting that settlement,” said McDevitt…. Frankly, he should be disbarred.”

 It is unclear what led Mr. McDevitt to bring up comparisons with the successful outcome in the NFL Settlement. The contrasts between the WWE and NFL treatment of their former athletes would probably be best avoided by Mr. McDevitt. As many of Mr. Kyros’ NFL player clients have already received substantial compensation from settlement payments, and Mr. Kyros WWE wrestlers claims which on their face are much more compelling than the NFL situation, have received zilch. So the optics are not really that great for WWE on this point.

Kyros Law represents hundreds of former NFL players in the NFL settlement, including players diagnosed with CTE, Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s Disease and ALS. (this is partial list which was an 2015 Notice to the Court of some of the players)

Below is Video of WWE’s Attorney Asking Vito LoGrasso about Mr. Kyros’ Role in the NFL Settlement.  The answer under oath seems to contradict Mr. McDevitt’s: patently false, nonsensical, irrelevant, baseless, inaccurate, frivolous [or simply insert your own synonym] assertions that Mr. Kyros lied to everyone about any role in the NFL settlement.
Here is a screen shot of the ECF docket after Mr. Kyros filed his notice of appearance for 185 of the players.

NO FEAR. If anyone needs to talk, PLEASE CALL OR TXT ME.

This decision will not stand, it is very poorly reasoned, ignores basic facts about the history of CTE science, as well as the rudimentary concepts of employment & labor law and is mostly a personal attack on your advocate and not on you! MARTY, JON!!! Ignore social media trolls. We are still a nation under the rule of law. If anyone is having any concerns I am available, please call me if you need to talk or text me. Thank you for your support, everyone stay strong and trust in our advocacy for your very strong and supported constitutional legal rights to a jury trial. This case is far stronger than the claims brought by NFL, NCAA and NHL athletes. CALL ME! We are appealing the case with the very best lawyers in the country behind us.

To be clear: the decision will be up to an Appeals court and they can rule to uphold or reverse the decision or make rulings on parts of the decision.

Suicide Attempts, Murder Suicides, CTE Studies. Court: Not Really our Concern

Only few days before the Dismissal of the Laurinaitis claim, the plaintiffs in the Singleton, Lograsso case filed this response to WWE’s continued attempts to collect $176,000+ dollars against Attorney Kyros for advocating for WWE wrestlers. The WWE’s motion accused Mr. Kyros of committing a “fraud on the court,” “dishonesty,” and “wrongdoing,” and pointed to social media of Evan Singleton bodybuilding and competing in a strongman competition.

Kyros’ Sur- Reply to WWE’s REPLY to Plaintiff’s Response in Opposition to WWE’s Motion for Fees
Read Document here by clicking on text below:

Not Forgotten: Former WWF Enhancement Talent, Don Driggers Wins Disability Hearing

Donald Driggers, a former mid 1980s “enhancement” wrestler who is currently a plaintiff in the pending WWE Laurinaitis Lawsuit recently was awarded disability.  At age 55, it has been determined that Mr. Driggers injuries and health no longer enable him to work. With the help of Kyros Law and his lawyers at Disability Justice LLC ( A Social Security Disability firm in PA), Don has been able to get at least some help to pay bills and get by. According to the pending federal lawsuit by 60 wrestlers, WWE has forgotten its former performers and does nothing to help them despite many long term occupational injuries related to their wrestler careers.

Instead of using a tiny fraction of the hundreds of millions of dollars in annual revenue and profits from the collective effort of the wrestlers who helped build WWE and whose past performances are a large source of ongoing revenue on the WWE network, the company has stated in court documents that it believes the claims in these cases are “frivolous” and resorts to accusing the attorneys, (including Don’s lawyer Konstantine Kyros) representing the wrestlers of “dishonesty” and “wrongdoing,” by filing their claims.

Donald: “I want to thank Mr. Kyros for helping me out, standing up for me, when no one else could or would. I was going through what one might call a mighty rough situation and he came through for me by getting in touch with these folks who got me disability on my first go round. Thank you for thinking of me, I feel that the world had got up and had just about forgotten me.”

Rockin’ Rebel’s Legal Dispute with WWE Before his Murder Suicide

Chuck Williams AKA Rockin’ Rebel, a former WWF, ECW, WCW wrestler who tragically shot and killed his wife before killing himself in a murder suicide apparently had legal disputes with the WWE in the years before his death. We have collected the brief exchange between Mr. Williams and WWE lawyers who corresponded with him. The dispute appears to center on Mr. Williams trade/service mark of his ring name “Rockin’ Rebel,” with Mr. Williams contending that the WWE was infringing it by rebroadcasting his old ECW matches presumably on the WWE network.

Mr. Williams as reported earlier on this blog died in manner strongly suggestive that he may have had CTE. And fortunately his brain has been donated to independent CTE researchers unaffiliated with Chris Nowinski, BU or WWE whose conflicts have come under scrutiny. Chris Benoit who died in similar circumstances was also studied for CTE and found to have the disease which the experts concluded was linked to his violent behavior. No other media outlet has reported his brain donation for CTE. Nor has WWE, Boston University Doctors or Chris Nowinski commented or publicly noted and made the obvious parallels to Mr. Williams and his wife’s tragic death to CTE and the earlier Benoit murder suicide despite the fact of his impending brain study and obvious similarities to the terrible events. If CTE can trigger people to harm their families and themselves is this not an important public health issue that WWE should be out in front especially with the millions of dollars WWE are giving to Chris Nowinski to study CTE in NFL football players? WWE has decided to ignore this health crisis and instead focused on making the issue about the lawyers such as Mr. Kyros who are coordinating wrestlers brains for CTE research and who seeking the Courts help to get medical monitoring, care and treatment specifically directed to WWE wrestlers.

Click here to read some of the emails between the late Mr. Williams regarding his intellectual property dispute with the friendly WWE lawyers who are always seemingly looking out for wrestlers rights.

 

 

WWE Attorney Jerry McDevitt Insults Vito’s Attorney, After Trying Ask About Privileged Attorney-Client Conversations With Kyros

During Vito LoGrasso’s deposition testimony things get a bit feisty when WWE Attorney Jerry McDevitt attempts to trick Vito into answering questions about conversations he had with his attorney, Konstantine Kyros.  When Mr. McDevitt is called out on his line of questioning he resorts to insulting the lawyer from Pogust Braslow and Millrood LLC defending the deposition. Note: A witness can unknowingly waive attorney-client privilege if they simply answer the questions. The privilege protecting communications is not automatic, it must be exercised. After his first attempts, Mr. McDevitt then skillfully probes to see if he can get answers to questions about communications ‘before’ he hired Kyros (which are also protected but some lawyers may not know that privilege attaches in these situations and could also be waived if Vito had answered). The goal of course is central to WWE’s defense: Attack Konstantine Kyros- the leading voice of professional wrestlers legal rights rather than address the head injury crisis in WWE wrestlers. The WWE spent many millions of dollars defending Vito and Evan’s claims over and above the actual damages and medical help that Vito and Evan sought. The currently pending Laurinaitis case with 60 wrestlers makes some of the same requests including for families of deceased wrestlers now found to have CTE due to the efforts of Kyros and his team.