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New York tosses brain damage lawsuit by ex-WWE stars

A judge in the 2nd U.S. Court of Appeals in New York has affirmed the decision of a Connecticut judge who dismissed the lawsuit filed by 50 former wrestling professionals, including the likes of World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE) stars Jimmy “Superfly” Snuka, Harry “Mr. Fuji” Masayoshi Fujiwara and Chris “King Kong” Bundy.

The wrestlers, many of whom were in the WWE back in the 1980s and 1990s, claimed that WWE officials and organizers, including chairman Vince McMahon, knew that the wrestlers were in danger of long term injuries from concussions.

Many of the wrestlers were later diagnosed with dementia and other illnesses that can be attributed to repeated head injuries and traumatic brain damage. Fujiwara and Snuka (who both died before the decision was handed down), for example, were found to have suffered from chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE) through post-mortem studies. CTE is common in athletes who suffer multiple concussions in their professions, especially when they’re put back in the game or ring too soon.

The judge in this case said that some cases were “frivolous,” and others were filed after the statute of limitations had run out. The judge also said that there was no evidence that WWE organizers knew that repeated head blows could lead to CTE.

The outcome of this case is in sharp contrast to cases pursued against the National Football League (NFL) and the National Hockey League (NHL), both of which settled numerous claims by former players.

Cases like this show the necessity of making sure that you actively pursue a claim for damages as soon as you’re aware that you may have been injured by someone else’s negligence. If you’ve put off seeing an attorney about a suspected injury, don’t wait any longer.