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Lawyer for ex-wrestling stars takes brain damage lawsuit against WWE to Supreme Court

Jason Owens
·2-min read
Joseph Laurinaitis aka 'Animal' of The Road Warriors Has Passed Away At 60. MIAMI BEACH, FL - JULY 02: Road Warrior Animal attends Florida Supercon at The Miami Beach Convention Center on July 2, 2016 in Miami Beach, Florida. Credit MPI04/MediaPunch /IPX
Joseph "Animal" Laurinaitis died last year. He is listed as a plaintiff in the lawsuit against WWE. (MPI04/MediaPunch /IPX)

A lawyer for more than 50 former professional wrestlers suing WWE over brain damage has taken the case to the U.S. Supreme Court.

Attorney Konstantine Kyros filed the request on Wednesday after lower courts dismissed the suit as frivolous or beyond the statute of limitations, according to documents obtained by the Associated Press.

The plaintiffs listed include star wrestlers from the 1980s and '90s, including Joseph “Animal” Laurinaitis of the Road Warriors, Jimmy “Superfly” Snuka, Paul “Mr. Wonderful” Orndorff, Chris “King Kong Bundy” Pallies and Harry Masayoshi Fujiwara, known in the ring as Mr. Fuji.

Multiple plaintiffs listed diagnosed with brain damage after death

Snuka died in 2017, and Fujiwara died in 2016. Both were diagnosed after their deaths with chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE), the disorder commonly associated with repeated head injuries suffered in football.

Pallies died in 2019, and Laurinaitis died last year of undisclosed causes.

Other plaintiffs have complained of dementia and other illnesses, according to the lawsuit.

The suit accuses WWE of knowing the health risks of wresting without warning participants and argues that WWE is more liable for injuries than sports like football because the organization scripts the matches that result in brain injury. The NFL settled a lawsuit over concussions with former players in 2016 for more than $1 billion.

Federal judge Vanessa Bryant ruled in 2018 that there was no evidence that WWE knew at the time that collisions suffered in the wrestling ring would result in CTE.

A WWE spokesperson told AP on Thursday that the lawsuit is without merit. It's not yet clear whether or not the Supreme Court will consider the case.

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