WWE FIRES BACK AT ULTIMATE WARRIOR'S LAWSUIT, CLAIMS FORMER WWF
CHAMPION CANNOT 'DISTINGUISH REALITY' FROM WARRIOR CHARACTER
As discussed in great detail last week in the PWInsider.com Elite
section, World Wrestling Entertainment responded in regard to the
defamation and breach of contract brought against the company and Vince
and Linda McMahon by Ultimate Creations, the parent company of the
Ultimate Warrior, Warrior himself, and Warrior's wife Dana Warrior on
3/6 in the United States District Court of Arizona, where Warrior
WWE requested the lawsuit to be dismissed on the grounds that the
initial filing by Warrior did not provide "a case for which relief
could be granted." Warrior's lawsuit alleges defamation for his
portrayal in the WWE Self-Destruction of the Ultimate Warrior DVD as
well as a breach of contract from a settlement of a previous lawsuit
where both sides agreed not to publicly disparage each other. Claiming
that Warrior's filing is "vague and ambiguous", WWE's attorneys asked
that he be forced to re-file his claims so that they could properly
construct a defense against them.
WWE also moved for a partial summary judgment over Warrior's claims of
a breach of contract, noting that on his official website Warrior has
personally written negative comments about World Wrestling
Entertainment and Vince McMahon, filing copies of those Internet
writings with the court to prove that Warrior, not WWE, was the first
to break the Settlement Agreement.
World Wrestling Entertainment also took liberties on the former WWF
champion while filing their Introduction to the court, citing, "The
Plaintiff in this case is a former wrestler who performer for WWE many
years ago. Back then, his real name was James Hellwig and he performed
under the service marks of the Ultimate Warrior and/or simply Warrior.
Hellwig, unable to distinguish reality from the fictional character he
once portrayed, eventually changed his name to Warrior."
WWE noted they, "...made Warrior into a star in the early 1990s. Even
then, life was a war for him. His problems were many and great.
Several times, WWE had to end its relationship with him due to problems
caused by, in part, his inability to distinguish fantasy from reality."
WWE noted he was terminated in 1996, which led to their previous legal
entanglements. "Since then, Warrior has had difficulty crafting an
economic life, largely because he believes the character he played in a
wrestling ring has relevance to the everyday life of mankind." They
claimed that as far as WWE could tell, Warrior had mostly attempted to
make money via his website, which including disparaging comments
against the company and Vince McMahon in violation of their old
WWE noted that they decided to produce their Warrior DVD in September
2005, "long after Warrior had tossed aside the Settlement Agreement's
non-disparagement provisions..." while Warrior had "ironically" hired a
producer to do his own version of the Warrior story via DVD.
"According to another suit filed in this Court by Warrior, the producer
of the piece told Warrior that the portrayal would not be flattering,
so he too, got sued." WWE also noted, "Evidently, Warrior was unable
to find anybody who could do a flattering piece about him even if paid
to do so."
Describing Warrior's lawsuit as reeking of "bad faith and frivolity",
WWE noted that Warrior's lawsuit does not point out "one specific
statement whatsoever" from the DVD that is the basis of the lawsuit.
They also note that Warrior doesn't asset, "as he must", that he
complied with the earlier Settlement Agreement. WWE asked that Vince
and Linda McMahon, personally, be dismissed as defendants as there is
nothing that makes them personally liable in the case. They also
requested that Warrior's wife, Dana, be dismissed, noting, "The
Complaint...does not allege that WWE has ever said one word about her
at any time, so one can only guess why she is a plaintiff."
WWE also noted that Warrior is a public figure and their DVD does not,
as alleged by Warrior, place him in a false light or ruin his right to
privacy, noting that he was a huge star while working for WWE and since
the DVD deals with his professional WWE career, it "cannot give rise to
a false light claim as a matter of law."
WWE also shoots down any demands made by Warrior that "all footage,
notes, films, disks, tapes, and all materials produced in this project
that resulted in the DVD be turned over to Ultimate Creations and
Warrior and Defendants not to keep or distribute any copies." WWE
claims that Warrior does not plead any cause for why the Court should
have to do this and noted that WWE is the creator and copyright holder
of all of their produced footage.
In the event that the matter is not dismissed, WWE also demanded a
trial by jury in all future proceedings.