As noted before, several former wrestlers filed a class action lawsuit against WWE over allegations of the company being aware of the dangers of CTE since the 1980s and doing nothing to inform nor protect their talent from the dangers associated with repeated blows to the head. This lawsuit was dismissed by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit this past September.
PWInsider’s Mike Johnson reported that five former wrestlers from the original class-action lawsuit recently filed an appeal in the state of Connecticut to the United States Supreme Court to hear their case. Johnson reported that these former wrestlers are currently being represented by Konstantine Kyros, who is the same lawyer who represented the original class-action lawsuit against WWE.
Kyros Law announces that it has filed a Petition for Writ of Certiorari in the United States Supreme Court to review the Second Circuit Court of Appeals decision affirming the dismissal of the class action lawsuits brought by former WWE wrestlers for neurological injuries they sustained in the ring.
The cases originally brought by Billy Jack Haynes along with Russ McCullough, Matt Wiese and Ryan Sakoda were dismissed by the Connecticut Courts in 2016. The wrestlers appealed and were told they had filed too early, and Ordered by Mandate to wait for the final outcome in other consolidated cases in the District of Connecticut. Those cases included the Laurinaitis action in which wrestlers including Jimmy Snuka, Balls Mahoney and Mr. Fuji were diagnosed with Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy (CTE) after their deaths.
Once the Laurinaitis case was dismissed in 2018, Haynes and the other putative class plaintiffs again appealed. This time, the Second Circuit ruled the wrestlers were too late to file their appeals. The Court relied on a 2018 Supreme Court Case Hall v Hall decided in the interim which ruled that cases consolidated can now be immediately appealed. The Second Circuit applied the new Hall rule retroactively to deny the wrestlers second appeal. This 2019 Second Circuit ruling per the wrestlers petition effectively created an impossible ‘Catch-22’ depriving them of any rights to appeal or have any meaningful hearing on the claims they presented.
The petition also seeks review of Cassandra Frazier’s claims regarding the untimely death of long-time WWE wrestler, Nelson Frazier who was similarly denied appellate rights under the Second Circuit interpretation of Hall.
The wrestlers seek relief from the US Supreme Court as they have been deprived of their fundamental rights as US Citizens, including their right to appeal.
Following the release of PWI’s report, WWE lawyer Jerry McDevitt issued an official response to the newest attempt by Kyros’ to revive the concussion lawsuit against the company.
“[Konstantine Kyros] has no automatic right to appeal to the Supreme Court. He has to ask them to accept an appeal, and that is what he filed. The large majority of requests are denied, and the Supreme Court typically takes cases presenting some issue of national import where the courts in the various federal circuits differ on some specific issue of federal law.
Here, Kyros is asking the Supreme Court to reverse the Second Circuit decision that he filed an appeal too late in the cases of Billy Jack Haynes, Russ McCullough, Matthew Wiese, Ryan Sakoda and Nelson Frazier.
He is not attempting to have them hear the dismissals of all the other cases, which are now over for good. The lower courts threw those cases out on the basis of state law, which the Supreme Court would not touch.
It is an exercise in futility, because even the Supreme Court were to hear his request and find that his appeal on behalf of those five was timely, he would still lose on the merits because their claims are all barred by statute of limitations. In short, a waste of time and money which we don’t think will go anywhere.
He will, however, have to face a sanctions hearing next month on how much he has to pay WWE.”