CM Punk & Colt Cabana v Dr Chris Amann Trial Day 6 Closing Arguments Notes

cm punk

Photo by Taylor Hill/FilmMagic

I was down at the Cook County Courthouse for the closing arguments in the Dr. Chris Amann vs. CM Punk & Colt Cabana trial. Here are the notes.

Punk and Cabana’s attorney rest their cases.

Closing Arguments of Dr. Amann’s attorney

  • Plaintiff’s counsel defines a “Defamation Per Se” case, in which plaintiff doesn’t need to prove monetary damages, simply emotional distress and damages.
  • Plaintiff’s counsel states Punk made false statements. These statements were then published by Cabana.
  • Plaintiff’s counsel states that Punk knew the statements were false.
  • Plaintiff’s counsel states that Punk made the false statements, published by Colt, and that Colt believed the the statements were false.
  • Plaintiff’s counsel says Ep. 226 of Art of Wrestling contained false statements about The Lump. They say Colt published these statements, knowing they were false.
  • The testimony of Patrick Duffy is brought up, citing that Duffy is not a doctor, nor is he named Patrick Batemen (both of which are said in the podcast)
  • According to counsel, Duffy never said the cyst was “baseball-sized,” or remarkable in any way.
  • Counsel mentions that Duffy said “possible staph infection,” despite Punk’s statement.
  • “Maybe it was, maybe it wasn’t, but it was never diagnosed.” -Counsel, about The Lump being staph infection.
  • Duffy never diagnosed The Lump as staph, and coded it in his treatment notes as a cyst.
  • Counsel mentions that both Duffy’s name or title are incorrect in Podcast statements.
  • Plaintiff’s counsel say that the podcast was presented as truth.
  • The Lump was described as a baseball in podcast, but in later texts is referred to as a golfball.
  • Counsel displays a golfball, a baseball, and a quarter, as to show size disparity.
  • “golfball” statement is five days after the podcast.
  • Counsel asks the jury if they’d have behaved the same as Punk.
  • Counsel brings up that Punk believed that the S in MRSA stood for staph.
  • Counsel suggests that the “baseball” sized lump never existed.
  • Counsel calls it a “false reality,” like the ones Punk writes for comic books.
  • Counsel brings up the testimony of John Cone and Larry Heck is brought up.
  • Glenn Jacobs’s testimony, says Punk never brought up The Lump.
  • Counsel says that Punk didn’t talk to other wrestlers about The Lump because “there was no lump.”
  • Counsel notes that texts about The Lump do not appear until after the 2014 Royal Rumble.
  • Counsel proposes that Punk was angered at Amann altering the finish to the 2014 Royal Rumble.
  • Photos of Punk at the Royal Rumble are shown.
  • Counsel brings up the testimony of April Mendez Brooks and Massage Therapist Corrine.
  • Corrine’s statements of seeing Punk in “cold weather” months is disputed, Counsel sites riding his bike around dates listed.
  • The size and color of lump is disputed.
  • Counsel describes the 2014 Royal Rumble. They state that Punk was concussed, but Amann’s “What do you want me to do” statement from Podcast has “no connection to the truth.” Amann told ring attendant Mark Yeaton that Punk had a concussion, and to relay that to production staff. Everyone one testified to Gorilla Position being concerned for Punk but Punk said “Fuck you, I’m staying in.” Counsel describes Punk as “defiant and belligerent.”
  • Counsel says Punk wanted to “dazzle” higher-ups at WWE, in an attempt to be involved in the main event of Wrestlemania.
  • If Punk’s claim of Amann asking “What do you want me to do about it” is true, then why would Dr. Amann tell Yeaton about concussion, other than to relay info to Gorilla Position.
  • Counsel claims that CM Punk is using the story to “get back” at Dr. Amann.
  • “I’m going to bury [Dr. Amann]” text is referenced.
  • “In the real world, Mr. Brooks’s statements do not make sense.”
  • Counsel brings up Drs. Sampson & Amann treating Punk for various ailments, including chest congestion, which is what Z-Packs are known to treat.
  • Counsel says that the defense used the Z-Pack stories to inject “a cloud of wrongfulness” into the case.
  • No evidence that Dr. Amann prescribes antibiotics for sleeplessness.
  • To be defamatory, the statements must be relayed to a third party.
  • Counsel says the nearly 4 million listens as said third party.
  • Counsel cites tweets and fan chants as people throwing the podcast back at Dr. Amann.
  • Counsel says that Punk’s statements make it difficult for Dr. Amann to do his job.
  • “Doc” in the podcast referred to the ringside physician for the 2014 Royal Rumble. Dr. Amann was the sole ringside physician at said event.
  • “hostility and hate” directed towards Dr. Amann, post-podcast.
  • “Truth is a defense in all defamation cases,” but only if the truth is substantiated, which counsel says it was not.
  • Counsel refers to The Lump as “The Nodule.”
  • Counsel calls Punk’s testimony “self-serving.”
  • Statements were published by Cabana, and then republished and distributed by the media.
  • The original publisher (Colt) is liable for the republication.
  • In Defamation Per Se cases, reputation only has to be damaged to “the public at large.”
  • Counsel brings up the “I’m almost sorry I was mean” text, and says “The truth is not mean.”
  • Dr. Amann cannot even post an instagram picture of his father without receiving Z-Pack comments.

Tweets shown to jury:

  • “Dr. Amann should be fired ASAP.”
  • “#FireDrAmann” from Mike Litoris
  • “Nice malpractice, you fag.”
  • “Shame on you for almost killing [CM Punk]”
  • “Whenever I see Dr. Chris Amann, it reminds me of [staph misdiagnosis]”
  • Counsel cites the above tweets as “palpable proof” of injury to Dr. Amann’s reputation.

Counsel describes a False Light Defamation case

  • focuses on Plaintiff’s depiction
  • statements don’t need to be published
  • has to prove actual malice.

Despite bring up the half-an-egg measurement, Plaintiff’s counsel did not bring a half an egg to court.

  • Counsel says that Colt knew that what he saw didn’t match up to what he was told.
  • Colt did not corroborate statements.
  • “He purposefully avoided the truth.”
  • Defamation Per Se case presumes damages.
  • Counsel says that as Dr. Amann is “not as flamboyant, he doesn’t try to steal the show.”
  • “Words hurt far more than sticks and stones.”
  • Words “strike at the heart, they strike at the mind, they strike at the soul.”
  • “It’s a hurt that doesn’t go away.”
  • Counsel says that if there truly was a staph infection that Punk would’ve done more than “go on a podcast and promote himself.”
  • Counsel seeks $1 per stream of the podcast ($3.989 million)
  • Counsel ends their closing arguments.

Closing arguments of CM Punk’s attorney

  • Burden of proof is on the plaintiffs, burden of “gist” is on defense.
  • Counsel says that Colt and Punk aren’t court reporters, they summarize.
  • Counsel says that telling stories is how people share with each other, and that storytelling methods vary from person to person.
  • “People tell stories of their life differently.”
  • Counsel says Punk had a plethora of medical problems in 2013.
  • Counsel shows evidence of Punk complaining of ailments multiple times
  • Defense corroborates Punk’s symptoms with concussion symptoms.
  • Defense mentions Punk meeting with Dr. Sampson.
  • Defense shows that WWE Medical Records are not a reliable source, as they never listed any of Punk’s antibiotic prescriptions
  • Texts to Dr. Amann prove that antibiotic distribution was done without restriction. Punk could get antibiotics whenever he wants.
  • Dr. Amann gave Punk antibiotics without records.
  • “There are extensive records.” -Dr. Amann in text. “Are you kidding me?” -Punk’s counsel
  • Text is shown where Dr. Amann says that Punk fabricated “pretty much everything.”
  • Counsel moves on to the concussion.
  • “It was a real contact. It caused a real injury, a brain injury.” -on the concussion cause by Kofi Kingston.
  • Royal Rumble response is disputed.
  • Defense says that there were no witnesses or recordings of Punk’s ringside conversation with Amann.
  • Defense finds the idea that there was no lump to be ridiculous.
  • Defense states that the Plaintiff’s case is unclear about The Lump.
  • Corrine’s testimony is brought up. She is not a wrestling fan and has no reason to lie for Punk.
  • AJ and Punk being co-workers, and in contact everyday, gives context to why texts about The Lump do not appear until after the Royal Rumble.
  • Counsel does not dispute the incision and drainage, done by Duffy.
  • Counsel says Duffy prescribed antibiotics that treat staph and MRSA.
  • Defense shows how tight Punk’s wrestling gear is, referring to them as “super spanx,” and that they could compress The Lump.
  • Defense confirms that Punk changed and showered on his bus, as reason that no one saw The Lump.
  • Defense says that Punk and Cabana are trained storytellers, and would’ve been better liars if they were “mythmaking” as the Plaintiff states.
  • Defense calls the idea that there was no lump before Royal Rumble a “farce.”
  • Defense asks the jury who they believe, the very busy Dr. Amann or CM Punk?
  • Defense believes the patient will have a better memory than the doctor.
  • Defense believes that AJ would’ve been more concerned about The Lump than Punk was.
  • “[Amann] had a lot on his plate, [Punk] had a lump on his butt.”
  • Defense states the misrepresentation of Duffy in podcast was an “honest mistake.”
  • Defense compares Duffy’s testimony to Punk’s. They describe Duffy as scattered and general.
  • Defense says a cyst can be infected.
  • “Did Phil believe he was lying? No.”
  • Defense says that Amann came from an idyllic home of privilege and that often causes one to lose perspective and believe that “any bump in the road to be a $7 million case.”
  • Defense describes Dr. Amann’s vanity searching as “picking the scab.”
  • Twitter is an “open window in the kitchen”
  • Defense states that Dr. Amann has no problems with co-workers, friends or patients. Dr. Amann has not sought therapy and sleeps 8 hours a night.
  • Defense says that Punk and Cabana are not to blame for the ills of Social Media.
  • “Why do we care about the trolls of the world?”
  • Describes wrestling events as a “unique place.”
  • “What is your reputation worth to the Mike Litorises of the world?”

Colt Caban’s attorney “cuts to the chase” and delivers a list

  1. Episode 226 was about Punk, not Dr. Amann. Dr. Amann isn’t brought up until the end.
  2. Colt never said anything defamatory about Dr. Amann.
  3. Dr. Amann is only named twice in Ep. 226.
  4. Cabana didn’t doubt the truth of the statements
  5. Cabana didn’t believe anything Punk said about The Lump to be false.
  6. Colt had no idea that Punk was talking about Dr. Amann.
  7. “Doc” is a colloquialism used for the entire WWE Medical Staff.
  8. Dr. Amann never emailed Cabana.
  9. This is struck from the record as it has to do with monetary damages, which are not factored in a Defamation Per Se case.
  10. Not one person testified that they believed the Podcast. No proof that Mike Litoris’s opinion changed of Dr. Amann, just that Mr. Litoris made his opinion known on twitter.

Colt’s Counsel says there’s no reason for Dr. Amann to bring claims against Punk & Cabana.

Rebuttal from Plaintiff’s Counsel

  • Dr. Amann’s license has always been “in good standing.”
  • Statements were repeated by more than just “media trolls.” Counsel cites the Washington Post.
  • HIPA is not a case.
  • “It was me who wrote the complaint,” counsel stating that Dr. Amann never violated HIPAA as he didn’t write the Cease & Desist.
  • Dr. Amann had no reason to go on The Art of Wrestling and help “sell Colt t-shirts and merch.”
  • Counsel says that Dr. Amann wasn’t “picking scabs,” when googling himself on Thanksgiving. Counsel describes it as a “fresh wound.”
  • Counsel describes Dr. Amann’s thanksgiving being a “nightmare.”
  • “Easy to call things a joke when its not targeted at you.”

Closing arguments end, Jury is instructed, Jury begins deliberation.