In writing my paper, my co-authors and I transitioned from “football players” to “athletes,” because those who participate in all contact sports- most especially high-impact, high contact sports are at risk of brain trauma and therefore CTE. This includes those who play football, ice hockey, wrestling…..
FILED_Judicial Notice_CTE Study_with Ex. A_JAMA CTE Study_9.12.17
Click link above to see filed court document. The WWE and NFL funded largest study of CTE to date.
What types of relief do wrestlers want? This is a very basic summary. Ideas for resolving the case include:
1. Full Health insurance coverage for all Plaintiffs and their families who do not have it or cannot afford it/supplemental polices for people on medicare/medicaid;
2. Lump sum disability and/or disability payouts based on medical diagnosis- in part based on total number of WWE/ECW/WCW matches/offset by SSDI/SSI;
3. WWE should pay for Medical monitoring for CTE for all Plaintiffs;
4. Additional payouts for diagnosed neurological conditions for Plaintiffs with qualifying diagnoses (real issues discovered by a doctor);
5. WWE should Pay for comprehensive Mortality/Death Rate in Wrestling Study with view to helping lower it;
6. Program to build and improve outreach to wrestlers in need (expand drug and alcohol program and tie it to overall medical care);
7. Fair royalty payments and a full accounting to all plaintiffs;
8. WWE should Correctly classify wrestlers as employees;
9. WWE should Finance wrestler-specific CTE research (unlike just giving millions to other sports/military CTE studies); and
10. WWE should give lump sum payments to Plaintiffs with CTE diagnoses after death.
Minute Entry for proceedings held before Judge Thomas P. Smith: Settlement Conference held on 8/28/2017. Case did not settle. Magistrate Judge has invited both sides to contact him anytime in the future if they believe settlement would be possible. Total Time: 5 hours.
Settlement Conference set for 8/28/2017 at 10:00 AM and, if necessary, 8/29/2017 450 Main St., Hartford, CT before Judge Thomas P. Smith. Ex parte statements no longer than 3 pages in length, setting forth what discussions they have had with regard to settlement; what demand(s) and counter offers there have been; and views on how to resolve the case are due by 8/23/2017 and shall be submitted via fax. Ex parte statements should address settlement, not a recitation of the history of the litigation. Counsel in attendance must be empowered with decision-making authority.
ORDER: Counsel are ordered to meet with all of their respective clients and discuss possible settlement of these cases, including reasonable offers and demands. Counsel are further ordered to meet and confer with one another and inform this Court within 21 days of the date of this order of the dates in June, July and August of 2017 on which all counsel, parties, and others necessary to commit to a full and final settlement of these matters are available to devote an entire day to settlement discussions with Judge Thomas Smith. Signed by Judge Vanessa L. Bryant on 5/9/2017. (Hoffman, S)
The court denied WWE’s motion to toss Singleton/LoGrasso case, but the Court requires further briefing on the issue in an effort to uncover the facts.
Court ruled: “The case resolves around a single question:
‘Did WWE become aware of and fail to disclose to Singleton and LoGrasso information concerning a link between repeated head trauma and permanent neurological conditions or specialized knowledge concerning the possibility that its wrestlers could be exposed to a greater risk for such conditions.'”
Interestingly the 2005 date is no longer mentioned in the ruling- evidence introduced on the record in the case- shows WWE had such prior knowledge- including a “smoking gun” video of a December 1995 Monday Night Raw interview with Dr. Unger discussing Shawn Michaels alleged “post concussion syndrome.” Post Concussion Syndrome was a term used before the widespread use of CTE for long term effects of head trauma as opposed to “concussion” which is viewed as a transient or short term event. As such that fact and other evidence demonstrate that the WWE cannot plausibly deny that it did/does not know about such risks during the relevant time period.
Read Court Ruling here: MSJ-LoGrasso
[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