Pro Wrestlers Sue Over Brain Injuries, Too

Jimmy 'Superfly' Snuka is among those going after the WWE
By John Johnson,  Newser Staff
Posted Jul 19, 2016 5:03 AM CDT
Pro Wrestlers Sue Over Brain Injuries, Too
Former professional wrestler Jimmy "Superfly" Snuka.   (Michael Kubel/The Morning Call via AP, File)

Add pro wrestlers to those suing their former employer over brain injuries suffered on the job. More than 50 retired wrestlers—including Jimmy "Superfly" Snuka—filed suit against World Wrestling Entertainment on Monday, reports Reuters. Other big plaintiff names from wrestling's early days are Joseph Laurinaitis, 55, known as the "Road Warrior Animal," and Chris Pallies, 60, or "King Kong Bundy." They say WWE and its chief, Vince McMahon, encouraged them to use dangerous, choreographed moves such as the "piledriver," in which a wrestler is dropped head first onto the mat, and then concealed the risk of chronic traumatic encephalopathy and other neurological conditions, reports Bloomberg.

"WWE placed corporate gain over its wrestlers' health, safety, and financial security, choosing to leave the plaintiffs severely injured and with no recourse to treat their damaged minds and bodies," the complaint says. On top of that, the lawsuit says WWE classified its wrestlers as "independent contractors" to avoid liability. Nope, says WWE. “This is another ridiculous attempt by the same attorney who has previously filed class action lawsuits against WWE, both of which have been dismissed,” says a statement. Still, one sports law expert calls pro wrestlers "the most disposable athletes in the sports and entertainment business" given the physical abuse they endure, combined with their status as independent contractors. The wrestlers cite not just brain injuries but higher rates of suicide, drug abuse, and violent behavior. (Snuka himself is accused of murder.)

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