With only 10 days away from WrestleMania 34, the WWE can go into New Orleans with a clear conscience for their biggest show of the year. That’s because according to PWInsider, World Wrestling Entertainment scored the final victory in the United States District Court of Connecticut on two lawsuits regarding concussion protocol protection and awareness.
“Although several the allegations against the company had been previously thrown out by the court, there was one allegation that had been ruled as being able to go forward. That charge, brought by Vito LoGrasso and former WWE developmental talent Evan Singleton, was a claim for fraud by omission. The claim was allowed specifically because they had alleged that in 2005, WWE “became aware of and failed to disclose to its wrestlers’ information concerning a link between repeated head trauma and permanent degenerative neurological conditions.”
LoGrasso and Singleton were employed during the WWE’s established Wellness Policy so their arguments were legitimate, and an essential part to why the courts allowed the case to move forward towards a decision. Judge Vanessa L. Bryant was tasked with assessing the situation, and yesterday she came to a conclusion.
“In a 21-page ruling, Judge Bryant threw those final counts against WWE out, writing, “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. Judge Bryant ruled that LoGrasso’s claim could not continue because “undisputed evidence in the record demonstrates that WWE did not know of a potential link between concussions and permanent degenerative neurological disorders until after LoGrasso stopped wrestling. LoGrasso therefore could not have relied upon any omission to choose to continue wrestling, and any injury he suffered while wrestling could not have resulted from WWE’s failure to state what it did not know.”
Singleton’s ruling went a little differently:
“On Singleton, WWE claimed in a February 2017 motion that “…[Singleton’s] own binding admissions prove: (a) he received a baseline ImPACT test on December 1, 2011 during which he was told about the signs and symptoms of concussions;4 (b) prior to his injury he was told by a WWE physician that he would not be able to perform if he received a concussion and remained symptomatic; (c) he was injured performing a common move that he knew he would perform when he became a professional wrestler; (d) he knew he would get hurt if he performed the move wrong; (e) he, in fact, did perform it wrong on September 27, 2012; (f) the injury was an accident; (g) he never wrestled again after his injury;5 and (h) nobody has told him that he has CTE, and he does not have any fear of having CTE. Accordingly, his claim is about nothing more than an alleged patent injury arising from a risk he knew and assumed. It was caused by his own mistake, and he could not even make out a negligence claim, much less a claim for fraud.” Judge Bryant, however, sided with WWE, deciding that, “Holding a training session in which it is explained that repeated concussions can cause CTE and that CTE can be fatal, is not consistent with a deliberate effort to withhold information for inducing Singleton to continue wrestling. Plaintiffs have offered no evidence that Singleton’s alleged failure to attend this session was the result of a deliberate effort on WWE’s part to prevent him from learning about concussions or CTE. Consequently, no reasonable jury could find anything other than that WWE attempted to inform Singleton about the risks of concussions. His failure to cooperate with that attempt—or WWE’s allegedly negligent failure to ensure that all talent in fact attended the presentation—do not transmute WWE’s effort to educate performers about concussion risks into fraudulent omission.”
While it’s hard to celebrate a victory of this stature, it does speak volumes that the WWE is making an active effort to settle their wrong-doings, and/or defend themselves from circumstances that are sometimes out of their control. With Daniel Bryan being cleared to wrestle after extensive research and testing by physicians, hopefully the WWE has found a consistent routine on how to properly care for their talent.