Defamation Suit Against WWE, Flairs Moved to Federal Court

CHARLOTTE, N.C. (CN) – A defamation lawsuit filed against World Wrestling Entertainment, WWE Hall of Famer Ric Flair and his daughter, Charlotte Flair, is being transferred to the federal court in Charlotte.

In a complaint filed in Mechlenburg County Superior Court in North Carolina on Oct. 11, Riki Paul Johnson, Charlotte Flair’s ex-husband, claims the defendants spread harmful lies about him in the 2017 Flair autobiography, “Second Nature.”

On Wednesday, attorney John Culver III of K&L Gates LLP, who represents World Wrestling Entertainment successfully petitioned to move the case to federal court.

Ashley Elizabeth Fliehr, known as Charlotte Flair, a seven-time women’s world champion wrestler, co-authored the dual autobiography with her father. “Second Nature,” released in September 2017, tells the stpry of Ric Flair’s life and career, and his daughter’s rise to stardom in the wrestling profession.

Included in the story, are claims of violent acts committed by Johnson.

Johnson’s pro se compliant, which became available Tuesday, says there is no evidence to support this alleged criminal misconduct, and that Charlotte was actually the “out-of-control aggressor in a physical and verbal tirade which was directed at the responding police officers.”

Johnson claims that, in “Second Nature,” the Flairs recklessly and falsely allege that he is sterile and incapable of fathering children, and that he was terminated from two prior places of employment due to illicit drug use.

Johnson has three children, who he says, “are now subject to the ridicule and shame of the false allegations.”

He says in the complaint, the statements made about him in the book and in subsequent interviews were intentionally designed by World Wrestling Entertainment to create sympathy and marketability, and to promote Charlotte as a female victim who overcame adversity.

Johnson demands $500,000 in actual damages and $5 million for  punitive damages.

The Flairs did not immediately respond for comment. In a statement emailed to Courthouse News, the WWE said, “We recently received what appears to be a meritless lawsuit and we will vigorously defend ourselves.”

 

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