Former ECW, WCW, WWF Wrestler Charles Donnelly Williams (Rockin’ Rebel) Murder-Suicide Brain Donated for CTE Research

BOSTON, June 21, 2018 /PRNewswire/ — Kyros Law announces that former ECW, WCW, WWF Wrestler Charles Donnelly Williams’ (also known as “Rockin’ Rebel”) brain has been donated for CTE research after tragic murder-suicide. On June 1, 2018 Former wrestler, Charles Williams was identified by Pennsylvania police as having shot his wife and killed himself in an apparent murder suicide.

Attorney Konstantine Kyros, an attorney for the family announced that Mr. William’s brain tissue is being studied for CTE.  “Out of this immense tragedy, the family hopes to find some answers. They made the difficult decision to study Chuck’s brain for CTE in the hope that it may provide clues as to what happened. This is not the first time the family of a professional wrestler has been confronted by horrible events and there are obvious parallels to the Chris Benoit Tragedy.” The couple leaves behind two minor children, a son and daughter.

Chris Benoit, another professional wrestler, killed his wife and son in 2007 before hanging himself and was subsequently diagnosed with Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy that experts linked to his violent behavior.

Kyros Law currently represents other families of wrestlers identified as having CTE including Jon Rechner (Balls Mahoney), Brain Knighton (Axl Rotten), Timothy Smith (Rex King) Jimmy “Superfly” Snuka and Harry Fujiwara (Mr. Fuji) in a lawsuit against the WWE arguing that the WWE has a duty to warn, treat and help former wrestlers that may be at risk for the condition.

The lawsuit filed against the WWE by Kyros Law alleges that CTE studies of other athletes are now the norm, but aside from the firm’s efforts, the large research institutions have done inadequate studies of the CTE health crisis in professional wrestlers in part because some receive funding from the WWE, which denies that the disease exists in its wrestlers much like the NFL originally denied the disease existed in Football players.

Learn more about the ongoing WWE Concussion Litigation by visiting Attorney Kyros’ WWE Concussion Lawsuit News blog.

Kyros Law specializes in a wide range of complex litigation, mass torts, and corporate governance matters, including the representation of whistleblowers, shareholders and consumers in securities fraud, false claims act and class actions. Our lawyers have been responsible for recovering hundreds of millions of dollars for our clients throughout the United States, Africa, Asia and Europe. Visit our website to learn more about our firm.

NCAA Settles Lawsuit Over Football Player’s CTE Death Mid-Trial

Things that make one wonder about why the CTE case against the WWE has not moved forward faster than it has. The facts alleged in the NCAA case are similar to the claims made in the pending CTE cases against the WWE. Does anyone believe that wrestling is less dangerous than playing in the NCAA? Or that the WWE knew less than other sports organizations about the long term risks of head truama? Should a jury get to decide the WWE cases? The reader will also note the the NCAA has already agreed to help its former athletes with a $70 million dollar fund. The WWE has offered ZERO dollars to alleviate the CTE health crisis in pro wrestlers.

(June 15, 2018) — The NCAA settled a case involving the widow of a former University of Texas defensive lineman.

The alleged the NCAA could and should have prevented her late husband’s chronic traumatic encephalopathy.

The two sides reached a settlement Friday, days into the first-ever trial about the NCAA’s responsibility for a football player’s CTE.

The Plaintiff Debra Hardin-Ploetz and the NCAA reached their agreement in the third day of the trial in Dallas before District Judge Ken Molberg The judge did not disclose any of the terms of the settlement.

The trial began with opening statements with plaintiffs lawyers telling the jury that when Mr. Ploetz began playing football at UT, he knew he was risking broken limbs, but was given no warning from the NCAA that he might suffer long-term neurological damage even though the organization had purportedly known for decades about the dangers of head trauma.

It was the first time a jury has been asked to consider what the NCAA purportedly knew about the head trauma associated with football and what it knew about CTE, the disease that allegedly gave Mr. Ploetz “10 years of suffering and decline” before his death in 2015.

The defense attorney representing the NCAA, told the jury during his opening statement that the plaintiff was engaging in “Monday morning quarterbacking” and trying to say the NCAA should have known in the 1960s that football caused CTE — a contention that is still not accepted in the medical literature and which was only first suggested in a 2005 case study, he said.

The NCAA in 2014 has already agreed to provide a $70 million medical monitoring fund and set aside $5 million for concussion research to settle multidistrict litigation brought by former student-athletes who accused the organization of failing to address concussions arising from football, basketball and other high-contact sports.

And in 2015, the NFL got final approval for an uncapped settlement with roughly 5,000 former players who alleged the league knew about the long-term risks of head injuries and concealed them. Under that deal, players diagnosed with CTE can receive up to $4 million.

The case is Debra M. Hardin-Ploetz, individually and on behalf of the Estate of Gregory Ploetz, v. National Collegiate Athletic Association, docket number DC-17-00676.

Laurinaitis (Sixty Wrestlers) v. WWE Lawsuit Continues….

The WWE cases continues…

WWE Wins Dismissal of LoGrasso Singleton Case

On March 28, 2018 Judge Bryant’s ruled: “After careful consideration of the evidence in the light most favorable to the Plaintiffs, the Court has determined that the evidence does not support a finding that WWE knew of a risk that repeated head injuries incurred while performing as a professional wrestler could cause permanent degenerative neurological conditions prior to September 5, 2007.”

The court also stated: “LoGrasso’s claim cannot survive summary judgment because undisputed evidence in the record demonstrates that WWE did not know of a potential link between concussions and permanent degenerative disorders until after LoGrasso stopped wrestling.”

This is obviously not the ruling the injured wrestlers hoped for, especially those struggling with long-term head injuries and CTE. The plaintiffs obviously believe that the facts support the opposite conclusion- that the WWE in fact knew about the risks of head injuries at all relevant times and has a duty to help the wrestlers with neurological injuries. As of today however the Court has ruled for WWE (in the LoGrasso/Singleton case). This has been a very hard fought lawsuit with a great team of lawyers fighting for Evan and Vito, our thoughts are with them and all those wrestlers who are struggling with long-term head injuries.

The decision is posted here.

WWE’s Denial of CTE Science Part 1: The LoGrasso Singleton Case

One important function of the pending legal claims against the WWE is to prove that CTE exists in WWE wrestlers in order to get them medical care. An important element of the claims is that former wrestlers may be at risk for CTE. The lawsuits are asking in part, for the WWE to acknowledge this science.  The WWE has so far tried to avoid admitting that wrestlers may be at risk for CTE and the pending lawsuits have in a sense forced the WWE to take a position on the science behind CTE. The fullest statement on the WWE stance on CTE can be gleaned by looking at the papers that their lawyers have filed in the lawsuits.

In seeking to dismiss the claims made by Vito LoGrasso and Evan Singleton (their cases were filed before the 60 wrestlers in the Laurinaitis case), the WWE was forced to make its views known.

The fullest WWE position on CTE can be read here: “The State of CTE Science is Not a Known Fact”

In this filing with the Court the WWE quotes (underlines and bolds the text) from a controversial 24th International Conference on Concussion in Sport in Zurich in 2012 which stated among other things that:

“It was…  agreed that a cause and effect relationship has not been demonstrated between CTE and Concussions or exposure to contact sports.”

“It was further agreed that CTE was not related to concussions alone or simply exposure to contact sports.”

“As such the speculation that repeated concussion or subconcussive impacts cause CTE remains unproven.”

So in order for the WWE to defend the claims made by the wrestlers it relies on studies that the majority of the medical community rejects.

The plaintiffs experts and lawyers themselves do not even have to make this argument. The argument has been made for them by the WWE financed doctors: Ann McKee and Robert Cantu at Boston University!

Dr. Ann McKee wrote on March 17 2013 about this very article cited by the WWE in the lawsuits  “This is a time that calls for immediate action to reduce the amount of head trauma experienced by athletes in all sports to prevent CTE,” McKee said via email. “And it is now irresponsible to justify inaction by requesting a level of scientific proof that will take decades to acquire.”

Dr. Robert Cantu had a similar reaction to the WWE cited statements telling the press: “When I saw in the consensus statement that we need more data in terms of CTE, I wrote to the other authors, in essence, ‘What the hell do you mean that we need more data?'” Dr. Robert Cantu said in a phone conversation Thursday. “…Frankly, it stunned me.”

Additionally the CTE studies financed in part by the WWE by the BU researchers reach the exact opposite conclusions of this Zurich Conference. Including a recent WWE-funded study that was said to be “the best evidence to date … that CTE is caused not just by concussions, but rather by any blow to the head, including mild impacts.”See earlier posts.

The WWE position on CTE science in the lawsuits is not only out-of-date and incoherent, the WWE position also directly contradicts the very studies and experts it funds at Boston University. The WWE’s tragic hypocrisy means that former WWE wrestlers will continue to suffer from CTE without any help or treatment until the Court forces them to act.

WWE Funded CTE Study Proves Wrestlers Lawsuit: WWE, Nowinski and BU Doctors Remain Silent

A pioneering CTE study published January 18, 2018 demonstrates that CTE is caused by repeated hits to the head not simply concussions. The lead doctor of the Boston University team that conducted the study described the paper as “the best evidence to date … that CTE is caused not just by concussions, but rather by any blow to the head, including mild impacts.”

As such the argument strongly supports a central claim made in the pending concussion lawsuits against the WWE. According to the wrestlers lawsuit: “The wrestling moves that involve the occupational head trauma that causes CTE and associated diseases from the accumulated effects of TBIs are the result of wrestling moves… that were performed “correctly” by the Plaintiffs. In other words, the head trauma that has resulted in injury is the accumulated effect of many impacts to the plaintiffs’ heads that occurred on a regular, routine basis during their WWE career.” The WWE has strenuously denied this claim.

Incredibly, the WWE actually helped fund this very study in 2018 that supports the injured wrestlers claims, and yet maintains in Court documents and media statements it is ignorant of any risk of CTE among professional wrestlers and openly derides the claims of the wrestlers, five of whom have died and been diagnosed with CTE including well-known wrestlers Jimmy Snuka and Mr. Fuji.

The WWE maintains in the Singleton/LoGrasso case: Quote: “The State of CTE Science is Not a Known Fact,” and WWE Doctors claim in court papers WWE is ignorant of CTE.

The WWE Lead Lawyer explained to the worldwide media: ”Before this guy [Konstantine Kyros] started trolling around looking for people to sue, we didn’t have one person, none, claiming they had any kind of traumatic brain injuries, or dementia or ALS or any of the kind of stuff you seek associated with the NFL.”

Since then the lawsuit has been amended (November 2017), there are five wrestlers diagnosed with CTE in the case itself (and two others Chris Benoit and Andrew “Test” Martin diagnosed by Dr Omalu) as well plaintiffs (including Paul Orndorff) with diseases including dementia, Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s disease.

The conflict between these positions is even more striking because the BU affiliated Concussion Legacy Foundation gave a seat to one of the “CTE in wrestling deniers”:  wrestler Paul Levesque AKA Triple H, an executive VP at WWE (husband of Stephanie McMahon). Mr. Levesque has publicly donwplayed the risks in WWE wrestling, telling USA today :” 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.

This is a real-time repeat of the NFL League of Denial story. However the striking contrast is that the WWE has seemingly bought the silence of  Mr. Nowinski who heads the Concussion Legacy Foundation (see the unbelievable Boston Globe expose of his role), and BU researchers through its large cash donations and Triple H’s board seat on the CLF. The WWE appears to maintain its denial of CTE science in order to avoid paying money to help its injured wrestlers.

The scientific article published in a medical journal called “Brain” received heavy media coverage. The worldwide headlines announced:

CNN: “It’s not concussions that cause CTE. It’s repeated hits, a study finds”

Los Angles Times: “Forget concussions. The real risk of CTE comes from repeated hits to the head, study shows.”

CBS Sports: “Study: CTE caused by repeated hits to head, even those that don’t cause concussions.”

Daily Mail UK:

‘Concussion is a red herring’ for CTE: Major study shows repeated hits (even mild ones) are the REAL problem

• Boston University has found the biggest problem for CTE is the way the head is hit, not the concussion

• Concussion is to CTE what a cough is to lung cancer: it does not predict it and treating it does not prevent it

• The paper is the clearest evidence to date of a causal link between football tackles and CTE – and suggests there is no way to prevent it

These headlines should also point out that the WWE, unlike the NFL is continuing to deny the science and continues to deny any help, money or research to address the CTE health crisis it is directly responsible for among professional wrestlers. The WWE evades these duties despite funding the study that proves its athletes are in health crisis and there can be no doubt of WWE’s actual knowledge of nature of CTE. The WWE’s legal and moral position in the face of evidence it now has at its disposal puts the organization into its own category of corporate misconduct.

SEE Full Article Here: Brain journal article 1.18.18

Wrestlers Seek to have Basic Facts Admitted by WWE

On January 17, 2018 the plaintiffs filed a motion to deem fifty statements of fact admitted by the WWE. The WWE’s lawyers had responded evasively by objecting to the requests which are required to be admitted or denied under the Federal Rules. The purpose of these rules to is to get facts on the record in the lawsuit something which the WWE does not want to do.

You can read the Plaintiffs Motion here >>

You can read the Requests for Admission here  >>

Wrestlers Continue to Press Claims Against WWE

WWE Wrestlers hit back at WWE’s attempts to dismiss the Laurinaitis Lawsuit- Read document by clicking on image

Link to entire document: Response to SAC – FILED 12.11.17



Lawsuit Reveals CTE Diagnosed in More WWE Wrestlers

Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy (“CTE”) Exists in Professional Wrestlers and is Diagnosed in at Least Five Named Plaintiffs.
Significantly, five of the named plaintiffs have had post-mortem neuropathology studies reflecting a diagnosis of an occupational disease related to brain trauma. These diagnoses show the existence of such diseases in professional wrestlers notwithstanding WWE’s continued public denials and defenses to the plaintiffs’ claims made herein.

  1. Plaintiff Estate of James W Snuka, has a diagnosis of Alzheimer’s disease and Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy (“CTE”)
  2. Plaintiff Estate of Harry Masayoshi Fujiwara, has a diagnosis of Alzheimer’s Disease and Chronic Traumatic Myelo-Encephalopathy (“CTME”)
  3. Plaintiff Estate of Jon Rechner, has a diagnosis of Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy (“CTE”);
  4. Plaintiff Estate of Brian D. Knighton, has a diagnosis of early stage Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy (“CTE”);
  5. Plaintiff Estate of Timothy Alan Smith, has a diagnosis of Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy (“CTE”);

Wrestlers File Amended Lawsuit Against WWE: Jimmy Snuka, Mr. Fuji, Rex King, Balls Mahoney Diagnosed with CTE

The wrestlers filed a second amended complaint in US District Court in Connecticut. Click Here to Read the Lawsuit >>>
This case involves retired professional wrestlers and performers who sustained long term neurological and other injuries during their tenure with WWE. As is detailed hereinafter, the Plaintiffs were intentionally and systematically deprived by the WWE of valuable rights guaranteed under State and Federal law, all under the direction and control of its Chairman of the Board and controlling shareholder, Vincent K. McMahon.