Vince McMahon garnered a ton of negative attention after facing allegations of sexual trafficking and misconduct from a former WWE employee. He also got involved in a lot of other lawsuits in the past and now it appears his NDAs might actually be useless.
In case you still have no idea what went down last week, shocking allegations of sexual trafficking and misconduct have been levied against Vince McMahon by former WWE employee Janel Grant. The lawsuit claims that McMahon shared explicit content of Grant without her permission, implicating other WWE employees, undisclosed executives, and stars. Additionally, it alleges that McMahon instructed her to engage in sexual activities with them.
According to VICE, the non-disclosure agreement at the center of the lawsuit might actually be useless. The issues in Grant’s case may become academic, as her lawsuit suggests that Vince McMahon did not fulfill the agreed-upon hush money payment in exchange for signing the NDA. This could potentially render the contract void. If similar language is found in NDAs signed by others, it might provide grounds to challenge those agreements, as suggested by a person familiar with the case.
Carrie Goldberg, an attorney who represented victims of Harvey Weinstein, criticized the document, calling it “poorly drafted.” Weinstein had utilized NDAs to silence some of his victims over several decades. Goldberg pointed out the central issue with the agreement, highlighting its lack of specificity.
This aligns with Grant’s legal argument that the NDA should be voided because of its overly broad language, potentially restricting her from including WWE on her resume. Goldberg noted the absence of specific information defining what should be kept confidential.
“The NDA makes references to confidentiality, but there’s no definition of what to be confidential about,” said Goldberg. “It’s very vague. Usually there’s super-specific information about what to be confidential about.”
Carrie Goldberg pointed out additional issues with the NDA, including the fact that the copy filed by Grant in federal court in Connecticut was not signed by Vince McMahon in either his personal capacity or his role as the then-chair of WWE. Typically, all parties involved would receive an executed copy of the contract.
However, it was reported that a source familiar with the matter claimed that the contract was indeed executed, with McMahon secretly signing on behalf of both himself and WWE after consulting with his longtime attorney, Jerry McDevitt. Goldberg described this apparent conflict of interest as “bizarre.”
Jodi Short, a professor at UC Law San Francisco specializing in NDAs, believes that the agreement in question is invalid on its face. However, she notes that in practice, this might not carry significant weight. In an email to VICE News, she expressed,
“It is my considered opinion that NDAs such as the one you sent me are unenforceable under common law contract doctrine. But there is very little case law squarely on point, and litigating such a case would expose an individual to enormous cost and litigation risk. That’s why most people end up silenced by NDAs even if, technically, they’re not worth the paper they’re written on. It’s not just the paper. It’s paper backed by an extreme asymmetry in resources between the two parties.”
Carrie Goldberg concurs, emphasizing that survivors should not be burdened with societal debts. While an NDA may be legally ineffective in theory, proving it in court is a potentially challenging process with an uncertain outcome. This could define a victim by the worst experience they endured and lead to substantial financial burdens. We will have to see what will become of Vince McMahon in the end.
What’s your view on this story? Do you feel Vince McMahon will be brought to justice? Let us know in the comments!