[WWE and Vincent K. McMahon] make the astounding claim that Plaintiffs have not plead “anything unconscionable about the contract”. Defendants apparently feel that deliberate misclassification of employees as “independent contractors” and the resulting sweeping away of an entire array of guaranteed state and federal statutory rights represents no injustice. Requiring a worker to pay for all of his own medical care even when injured on the job, in violation of Worker’s Compensation laws need not bother us. Refusing to allow a wrestler’s broken body the 12 weeks’ recovery mandated by FMLA can be just passed by as an irrelevancy. Who cares if mandated notices under OSHA to provide a “safe workplace” were hidden – the wrestlers should have been tough enough to withstand any injury. So what if Plaintiffs were defrauded out of ERISA benefits – just a bump along the way. The actual (or feigned) blindness of the Defendants to the scope of their illegal activities is breathtaking.
Indeed, the very brief of the Defendants reflects magnificently the attitude of the WWE under the direction and control of the VKM Defendants. If one is above the law, no violation of law carries any meaning, and no victim of your arrogance is entitled to any consideration let alone compensation.
The Defendants [WWE and Vincent K. McMahon] say that such unconscionability exists only when the contract terms “shock the conscience” [Document 267 @ 71/113], and cite yet another unpublished case in support of this proposition. Plaintiffs state that these contracts in fact “shock the conscience”. They blatantly purport to set aside every worker protection from a safe working environment, to Worker’s Compensation benefits, to the right to organize a union guaranteed by U.S. Law and international treaty, to the right of an employee to enjoy an employer’s contribution to FICA, FUTA and Medicare taxes, or to even sue for an unforeseen injury caused by the negligence of the employer (i.e. exculpatory releases), the right to share in an equitable portion of one’s own intellectual property, the right to 12 weeks to recover and NOT to be fired in 8 weeks because one is injured (FMLA). The workers here were left with one right – to do what Vincent K. McMahon and his agents at the WWE told them and receive their check, or get lost and find their own way to pay for rehabilitation of their broken bodies
Additionally, the paltry royalties were identified as an integral element of WWE’s “swindle” of the Plaintiffs. In Paragraph 486 of the FAC one of the notable swindles identified was the payment of twenty-three cents to Bruce Reed upon a revenue gross of $4,844.44 to the WWE. In paragraph 487 of the FAC, the examples given were identified as evidence of the fraud upon and exploitation of the Plaintiffs. Any reasonable person would understand these allegations to depict unconscionable contract provisions. The allegations “swindle” and “exploitation” are the foundation of unconscionability, especially when coupled with the allegations of FAC 501-503 which specifically use the word unconscionable as applied to the exploitation of Plaintiffs intellectual property.
Read the FULL Document: Plaintiff’s Opposition to WWE and Vincent K. McMahon’s Motion to Dismiss