It has been well versed that WWE, and in particular Dr Chris Amann, weren’t enamored with the Art Of Wrestling podcast that CM Punk featured in November last year. Punk did not hold back with his comments about the company, and in particular their Senior Ringside Physician. Punk called into question WWE’s concussion testing (he was apparently listening to music via headphones and texting his buddy Colt Cabana throughout one test) and Dr Amann’s mis-diagnosis of a fatty deposit on his back which actually turned out to be a staph infection.
Dr Amann obviously took exception to these barbed comments and slapped both CM Punk and Colt Cabana with a defamation lawsuit back in February of this year, and was looking for damages of over $1 million as well as punitive damages.
Yesterday afternoon, PWInsider.com reported that both CM Punk and Colt Cabana attorney’s officially filed responses and defences to the allegations made to them by Dr Amann. In the latest filing, Punk makes it crystal clear that he feels that Amman worked in cahoots with WWE on the lawsuit.
“Brooks is informed and believes that the Plaintiff collaborated, coordinated and conspired with the WWE in bad faith to prepare, bring and pursue this lawsuit in retaliation against Brooks and Colton for the embarrassment that the Podcast caused the WWE through and as a result of Brooks’ candid and truthful discussion of various of his experiences as a WWE wrestler, despite the fact that the Plaintiff knows full well that the statements about which he complains are true and/or substantially true. Further, Books is informed and believes that the Plaintiff cooperated with the WWE in the preparation and improper release of the alleged results of a supposed investigation concerning Brooks’ confidential and private medical information on the day after the Plaintiff filed this Complaint, which purported to support certain allegations in Plaintiff’s Complaint and to dispute and contest certain statements made by Brooks in the course of the Podcast. Upon information and belief, Plaintiff cooperated and conspired with the WWE to prepare and coordinate the preparation of the supposed investigation report who’s supposed results were released to the public and published widely very shortly after the Plaintiff filed his Complaint.”
Basically, in layman’s terms, Punk feels that the WWE and Amann have got together to sue him as revenge for the comments he made in the podcast.
Cabana repeats what Punk said, and also pointed out that he is protected under “Neutral Reporting Privilege”, which means that he was not implying the offending statements were true but simply reporting in a neutral manner that the potentially libellous statements were made even if they doubt the accuracy of the statement.
A few hours later, PWInsider.com again reported that WWE released their own statement in response.
“Phil Brooks’ latest claim that WWE directed Dr. Amann to file a lawsuit against Brooks is categorically false. Dr. Amann made the decision to file suit in order to protect his professional reputation.
WWE conducted its own investigation into this matter and found no evidence of wrongdoing by Dr. Amann, and thus continues to support Dr. Amann and the staff that runs our world-class medical program.”
A conference is set for October 9th for lawyers of both sides to meet and discuss the case and to see where they all stand with the court. It is worth noting that Punk and Cabana have demanded for a trial by jury.
Ski’s Take – The nasty un-coupling (thanks Gwyneth) of WWE and Punk continues unabated with more attorney action than I can shake a stick at, and I’ve been known to shake a mean stick. I think we all know that this will probably be settled out of court, and I say probably because the one sticking point is that Punk and Cabana have demanded for a jury trial. Now that is either the biggest bluff or they (I mean Punk as Cabana got pulled along on the ride because it was aired on his show, guilty by association as you will) have proper facts and documentation to prove their points. It could boil down to whoever blinks first…..or it could be one of the most interesting wrestling court cases since Vince took the stand in 1994