Dozens of wrestlers sue WWE over neurological injuries

Tue Jul 19, 2016 6:01am EDT
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By Jonathan Stempel

(Reuters) - World Wrestling Entertainment Inc WWE.N was sued on Monday by Jimmy "Superfly" Snuka and dozens of other retired male and female wrestlers seeking to hold it responsible for neurological injuries they claimed to suffer by participating in its bouts.

The complaint was filed on behalf of more than 50 plaintiffs who have performed with WWE or its predecessors since the 1970s, including Joseph "Road Warrior Animal" Laurinaitis and Paul "Mr. Wonderful" Orndorff.

It accused Stamford, Connecticut-based WWE and Chairman Vince McMahon of intentionally classifying wrestlers as "independent contractors" rather than employees, as a means to avoid liability under applicable worker protection laws.

"WWE placed corporate gain over its wrestlers' health, safety, and financial security, choosing to leave the plaintiffs severely injured and with no recourse to treat their damaged minds and bodies," the complaint said.

The lawsuit seeks compensatory and punitive damages, as well as improved medical monitoring.

WWE, in a statement, called the lawsuit another attempt to hold it liable by a lawyer who had two earlier lawsuits dismissed and added that "we're confident this lawsuit will suffer the same fate".

WWE has won the dismissal of some claims in other lawsuits accusing it of hiding the risks of head trauma from wrestling.

The National Football League and National Hockey League have also been sued by retired players over head injuries.   Continued...

World Wrestling Entertainment chairman Vince McMahon looks out at the crowd during a segment of NBC's "Today" show in New York, U.S., April 2, 2007. REUTERS/Brendan McDermid/File Photo