PORTLAND, Ore. (CN) - World Wrestling Entertainment deceived its wrestlers for years of the dangers of traumatic brain injuries, a former wrestler claims in a federal class action.
World Wrestling thus joins the NFL, NHL, professional soccer and the NCAA as a defendant in class actions accusing them of concealing and denying medical research that shows the debilitating effects of multiple concussions and the traumatic brain injuries from it.
Lead plaintiff William Albert Haynes III, who wrestled under the name of Billy Jack Haynes, sued WWE on Oct. 23.
His lawsuit tracks the claims made by hundreds or thousands of other athletes in other sports. Claiming that "WWE is in the business of selling violence," Haynes accuses WWE of "egregious mistreatment of its wrestlers for its own benefit, as well as its concealment and denial of medical research and evidence concerning traumatic brain injuries suffered by WWE wrestlers. Under the guise of providing 'entertainment,' WWE has, for decades, subjected its wrestlers to extreme physical brutality that it knew, or should have known, caused long-term irreversible bodily damage, including brain damage. For most of its history, WWE has engaged in a campaign of misinformation and deception to prevent its wrestlers from understanding the true nature and consequences of the injuries they have sustained. WWE's representations, actions, and inactions have caused its wrestlers to suffer from death, long-term debilitating injuries, lost profits, premature retirement, medical expenses, and other losses."
Haynes seeks class certification and punitive damages for fraudulent concealment, negligent misrepresentation, negligence, and liability for abnormally dangerous activities.
He also seeks medical monitoring for the class, to be paid for through a trust fund, and declaratory and injunctive relief.
He is represented by Steve Larson with Stoll Stoll Berne Lokting & Schlachter.