The fight for the rights of professional wrestlers in their lawsuits entered a new phase in the past few weeks as a quiet battle has commenced in the Appeals court between the WWE and the lawyers seeking to appeal their lawsuits. The WWE is seeking to block four of the appeals citing to a 2018 Supreme court decision in Hall Versus Hall which they argue now makes the Appeals brought this year too late (WWE also argues that two Sanctions appeals are too early, “too late too early”, all the same to WWE as long as no wrestler gets a day in court).
The latest wrestlers appeal was conducted in accordance with the rules of the Court, complied the notice requirements of the District Court of Connecticut which entered a final judgment on the docket on 9/27/18 and the Appeal was filed pursuant to an earlier Second Circuit decision instructing the wrestlers when to file their appeal. That decision was based on WWE’s 2016 effort to block Haynes/McCullough Appeal as being filed “too early.”
WWE argues that does not matter in light of the Hall decision and argues that the appeals needed to have been made in the past, even though the cases could not have been appealed in the past.
The 2018 Hall decision now allows for party to appeal immediately if their claims are dismissed during a consolidated action, which is what the WWE lawsuits were deemed to be: consolidated. When Billy Jack Haynes and Russ McCullough, Matt Wiese and Ryan Sakoda’s cases were dismissed in 2016 they timely appealed. The Second Circuit ruled at the time that Haynes and the others would have to appeal at the conclusion of all the consolidated cases which turned out to be 9/27/18 the date the court entered its final judgement. The WWE argues that the Hall decision now should be applied retroactively to foreclose the right to Appeal for Haynes and McCullough (and, Sakoda, Wiese, Frazier and Singleton/Lograsso). For example WWE argues Haynes would have had to appealed back in 2016 even though he could not have made any appeal under the rules then in existence. Make any sense? WWE in this sense seeks to argue that the wrestlers like Billy Jack Haynes would have had to travel back in time to file their Appeals in 2016 based on a 2018 Supreme Court decision.
Although WWE’s lawyer Jerry McDevitt told the media and the Appeals Court that the wrestlers opposition is “frivolous,” a lawyer from his own law firm, K&L Gates presciently wrote shortly after the decision the exact issue now facing the wrestlers:
“While Hall has now clarified much of the Rule 42(a) framework, it also leaves questions unanswered. For example, what will happen in those consolidated cases where parties relied on now-overruled circuit precedent not to take immediate appeals (or in which they took immediate appeals and were denied)? It is unclear if those parties have lost their right to appeal. Similarly, if those parties have not lost their right to appeal, when does the appellate clock begin to run? There are consolidated actions pending around the country where such questions are not only relevant, but pressing. In the wake of Hall, we will likely see additional cases come before the courts that address these issues.” (Law360, June 18,2018 High Court Answer Appeal Question for Consolidated Cases, by Denise Moore/Daisy Sexton)
Where are the wrestlers cases heading next???? Hopefully they are not required to use the TARDIS.