The U.S. Supreme Court has declined to hear a case alleging that World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE) failed to protect wrestlers from head trauma, leading to brain injuries.
Wrestlers William “Billy Jack” Haynes, Russ “Big Russ” McCullough, Ryan Sakoda, Matthew “Luther Reigns” Wiese and the widow of Nelson “Viscera” Frazier brought the case to the highest court in the land after a lower court threw the case out because they were filed years too late to date from the plaintiff’s injuries, the Associated Press reports.
The group of wrestlers has been pursuing the case since 2016, alleging that the WWE had not done enough to help prevent wrestlers from suffering concussions.
More than 50 wrestlers joined the suit filed in Connecticut, where the WWE is based. The wrestlers said they suffered repeated concussions and subsequent brain injuries and that the entertainment giant did not do enough to prevent their injuries.
Several of the plaintiffs have died, and relatives allege their brain injuries were partially the cause of their early deaths. Along with Nelson Frazier, who died in 2014, Jimmy “Superfly” Snuka died in 2017, and Harry Masayoshi Fujiwara, known as Mr. Fuji, passed away in 2016. Also, Chris “King Kong Bundy” Pallies died in 2019, while Joseph “Road Warrior Animal” Laurinaitis died in 2020. All five were parties in the lawsuit.
Several other cases have also been brought against the WWE, but courts found no evidence that the wrestling authority knew that wrestlers were competing while suffering head trauma.
“We’re glad it’s finally over,” said WWE lawyer Jerry McDevitt. “We were completely vindicated.”
The WWE has denied any responsibility for the alleged injuries.
Meanwhile, one of the lawyers who brought the cases to the courts decried the high court’s decision not to take his case.
“The wrestlers are dying of CTE despite the inaction of the justice system,” said attorney Konstantine Kyros. “Our team is proud to have brought their claims to our highest court and hopeful that this brings awareness to their ongoing struggles.”
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