Huge Update On WWE’s Legal Battle With Brock Lesnar

Niel Stephens

The following was written by Mike Johnson of PWInsider.Com. Full credit goes to him and PWInsider.Com.

Attorneys for former WWE champion Brock Lesnar responded in court yesterday to a an attempt by World Wrestling Entertainment to obtain a temporary restraining order and injunction preventing Lesnar from making three advertised matches for New Japan Pro Wrestling (the first two of which would be this weekend) or from any additional appearances or contractual obligations with any professional wrestling organization.

In a 21 page filing, Lesnar’s attorneys noted that it has taken WWE close to a year since Lesnar filed his breach of contract lawsuit to attempt to obtain an injunction from the Court, referring to WWE’s filing as, “a brief that reads like the storyline in one of WWE’s soap-opera styled professional wrestling events; intentionally blurring fact and argument, just as WWE’s production blurs fantasy and reality as necessary to create a good versus evil drama.”

Lesnar asked the Court to deny WWE’s request stating that WWE has failed to prove the company would suffer “irreparable harm” is he worked for New Japan and that their delay in requesting an injunction until this point in time hurts the argument that it is even needed.

Lesnar’s legal team again voiced their claim that WWE is blurring the issue of the case at hand, noting that the only issue in their eyes is whether the Settlement Agreement he signed in March 2004 in order to be released from WWE to play professional football is enforceable in the State of Connecticut. They noted that Lesnar has asked the Court to move for a Summary Judgment in the case and WWE has delayed that process by only performing one deposition of the three allowed by the court in the seven months since the discovery process began at WWE’s request. They claimed that WWE decided to “rush to the court” at this time to continue that delaying strategy when they could simply decide to clear up the legal matter “within a matter of days.”

Lesnar’s filing denied that WWE’s claims that they weren’t aware Lesnar had a relationship with New Japan until he was depositioned on 11/21. They noted Lesnar stated during his deposition that he had conversations with Shane McMahon prior to his original appearance at the January 2005 Tokyo Dome event (where he sat in the audience for one match after being introduced) that he intended to attend the event.

In regard to Lesnar’s New Japan in-ring debut on 10/8, yesterday’s filing claims that WWE attorney Jerry McDevitt specifically declined when asked by the Court if he wished to file injunctive relief regarding the appearance on 9/15, citing that he wished for more discovery into the situation. The filing noted that Lesnar was advertised in October as he is now, and “none of this is news to WWE.”

They also noted that WWE did not file for any injunction after Lesnar’s 10/8 debut where he won the IWGP championship in Tokyo.

The filing also denies that WWE is damaged by Lesnar working for New Japan, noting he hasn’t been promoted by the company since 2004 and they claimed his promotional value was already damaged in previous legal filings by his actions at Wrestlemania XX when he responded to the live crowd booing him in the Madison Square Garden. They stated that WWE has yet to file and evidence with the Court proving it would be damaged by Lesnar working for New Japan two years after he appeared for WWE.

When noting WWE did not file for an injunction after 10/8, Lesnar’s attorneys wrote, “WWE did not, for example, produce one shred of evidence that Lesnar’s performance for New Japan resulted in one less television viewer for WWE, or one less product sale, or that the performance it not seeks to prevent will in any way damage WWE’s business. It did not and cannot, because its claim of irreparable harm, like its claim that it did not know Lesnar would perform until now, is total fabrication.”

Lesnar’s attorneys continued to tear down WWE’s filing claiming that many of the issues brought up had no bearing on the Settlement Agreement issue and referred to it as a “fifteen-page character assassination” featuring “creatively cropped and edited quotes.” The filing claimed that WWE overreached with not just their discovery in the case but their entire professional relationship with Lesnar. Highlights included:

*When Lesnar stated “100% right” that he ignored that the Court has yet to rule on the issue of his Settlement Agreement before he began working for New Japan, WWE’s filing omitted the statement, “I can’t sit home and starve either.”

*Lesnar trusted WWE to the point that he did not ask his attorney to look over his renegotiated contract when he signed it in July 2003 and signed it without “even reading it.” They also noted Lesnar did not seek a clause regarding time off to be included because he was assured by then-Executive Vice President of Talent Relations Jim Ross that he could just ask for it when needed.

*The filing claims that the original Settlement Agreement is overreaching by WWE as there was “no dispute to settle” at the time of Lesnar’s release and that WWE cannot present evidence or opposition to Lesnar’s request that the Court rule on the legality it.

*Lesnar denies claims by Vince McMahon while being depositioned that Lesnar would quit and also threatened suicide if he wasn’t given a release. They did note that it was interesting McMahon mentioned suicide given the amount of young wrestlers who “died young while working for WWE.” The filing claims 38 wrestlers died under such situation and that USA Today claimed 1,000 wrestlers age 45 or younger have died since 1997.

*Lesnar claims that McMahon told him that if “his heart wasn’t into wrestling” he could go and “the door was always open.” Lesnar claimed that a month after he left the company and was living in Phoenix training for his football tryout, John Laurinaitis contacted him and said he was flying out to get Lesnar to sign some release papers. Brock claimed that since there was no dispute between them and that he trusted the company, he was willing to sign anything that was required of him, and signed the Settlement Agreement now in question without looking at it. He also claimed that at the time he had no understanding of the terms of the Agreement.

*Lesnar’s team asserts that WWE has kept him in “litigation limbo” all this time as a way to draw out the case, while Lesnar’s financial situation became one that required him to work. Lesnar claimed to have made only $12,000 in the year following his departure from WWE and was required to sell two houses, an airplane, and a vehicle to make ends meet. Lesnar also took out a $150,000 loan to help his financial matters.

*In regard his joining New Japan, Lesnar stated that time was running out and he had to do something to make money and is unable to even go back to school and earn his degree financially. “I’m at a point financially that I have to pick up from where I, at least somewhat where I was, somewhat the amount of money, to at least keep the things I’ve got.”

Lesnar’s team claimed that WWE knew Lesnar’s financial situation based on previous legal findings and chose not to ask about them “because they knew what the answers would be.”

*Lesnar claimed that he needed to work for New Japan in order to pay his bills, including his rising legal bills and financially supporting his daughter and her mother.

Lesnar’s attorneys ask that the Court deny WWE’s motion and again issue a Summary Judgment regarding the Settlement Agreement in question in the lawsuit.

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