Posted by TNA Wrestling News Staff on May 31, 2012
Major Extensive Update: The TNA vs. WWE Lawsuit

Major Extensive Update: The TNA vs. WWE Lawsuit


Full details have been revealed on TNA’s lawsuit against World Wrestling Entertainment and Brian Wittenstein. The details look at what exactly TNA thinks Wittenstein gave to the company, why they are suing and why they think WWE tampered with Ric Flair’s TNA deal.

The lawsuit itself is 37 pages. TNA says that Wittenstein signed a “severance agreement” in August 2011, which means he was fired in spite of his claims to the contrary. He agreed to a severance package in exchange for not giving out any confidential information and returning any company materials. A copy of the agreement was included in the filing, with only the amount he was paid blacked out. Wittenstein then allegedly “downloaded and took TNA’s confidential, trade secret and proprietary information after leaving his employment with TNA.” It says that Wittenstein, as Talent Relations Coordinator, had access to TNA’s computer network and information.

TNA’s lawsuit says that they are “uncertain of the full breadth of Wittenstein’s” theft and thinks that he took documents that included: copies of TNA’s policies and procedures, a spreadsheet containing personal and confidential information regarding TNA’s wrestling talent and staff, a spreadsheet containing the terms of TNA’s contracts “with its prospective, present and past wrestling talent”, a spreadsheet containing “confidential information regarding activity, payment and royalty reports” for TNA talents, a draft contract between TNA and one of its wrestlers, an executed contract between TNA and one of its wrestlers and a draft promotional agreement between TNA and a licensee. They said that their severance agreement let him go work for WWE or any other competitor if he “complied with his obligations” not to use the material or information.

Wittenstein sent a memorandum to WWE “summarizing TNA’s contracts with its wrestling talent.” In the email, included with the suit, Wittenstein wrote: “Attached, please find a contract status and terms chart for the TNA Wrestling roster. I combined a bunch of different documents I had from there to put it all in one concise spreadsheet that should capture all the relevant information you would be interested in. Here are a few notes for you regarding the TNA deals.”

TNA claims that all of the information was given to their primary competitor, which explains the Unfair Competition aspect of the suit. They think WWE knows all of the details of their talents contracts and can make moves to acquire the talent whenever they want. Wittensten’s supervisor (which may be Michael Hayes because he was working as his assistant) turned the material over to WWE’s legal department and Wittenstein was fired by the WWE in April. He worked for the company as a Live Event Booking Assistant.

TNA didn’t find out about the problem until May 7, when WWE’s Vice President of Legal/Business Affairs Scott Amann contacted TNA’s General Counsel Creede Williams, telling them that Wittenstein gave WWE information about TNA without WWE asking for it, and they fired him as a result of it. TNA was given a copy of the information in “both hard and electronic form”. They claim that WWE had the material for three weeks before contacting them, and Amann “did not explain the reason(s) for the delay”. They also claim that Wittenstein admitted giving them the information and “represented to TNA that he did so at the request of WWE.” TNA believes that WWE “solicited and/or inducted” Wittenstein to give them the material and has “unclean hands” in the matter.

TNA also “has reason to believe” that WWE is using the information to “solicit or induce TNA’s current wrestling talent to end their contractual relationships with TNA.” They company said that on May 9, Ric Flair “attempted to terminate his contractual relationship with TNA” and “made statements” that led TNA to believe he was planning to join WWE. He was under exclusive contract with TNa at the time. They say that the timing is “highly suspect” and that Flair was in contract breach by not showing up for events including the Sacrifice PPV.

TNA made another filing that requested two hour depositions of Flair, John Laurinaitis and Paul Levesque (HHH). There is no reference to Flair appearing at the WWE Hall of Fame ceremony and Wrestlemania, which TNA previously signed off on. No other TNA talents have been named as being tampered with by WWE. There have been cases in the past of talent trying to have secret meetings with other companies or seeing if there is any interest. The company put up a $30,000 bond to prevent WWE and Wittenstein from using, destroying or copying any material they may have in their possession. They want all of the materials returned before a June 11 hearing in Nashville. TNA filed the lawsuit there, as Wittenstein worked in their corporate offices at the time. Since WWE has business there, TNA filed the suit there and WWE is under TN jurisdiction.

They are suing for interference with existing contracts, conversion, breach of contract, civil conspiracy, unfair competition, and violation of the Tennessee Uniform Trade Secrets Act. They are also suing Wittenstein for breach of duty of loyalty. They want reimbursement of payments made to Wittenstein for his severance as well as attorney fees and expenses. They also want a court order to stop WWE and Wittenstein from ever revealing or using the material, and to make Wittenstein return the material he may have. They were specifically instructed not to “destroy” any of the material.

TNA claims there is a civil conspiracy as the two parties “conspired and agreed” to share the information that Wittenstein “wrongfully took” from TNA. They claim WWE would and “did use” that information “to solicit and induce TNA’s wrestling talent to breach their contracts with TNA and enter into contracts with WWE.” They said that because of the “misappropriation and/or threatened misappropriation of TNA’s trade secrets, TNA will suffer damages, as well as immediate and irreparable harm. TNA has no adequate remedy at law.” The lawsuit reads that “money damages cannot adequately compensate TNA, even if Defendants could respond by paying money damage.”

The filing says that TNA was “damaged in an amount in excess of the court’s minimal jurisdictional limits” and that the conduct of WWE and Wittenstein “entitles TNA to an award of exemplary damages in an amount in excess of this Court’s minimal jurisdictional limit.”

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20 Responses to “Major Extensive Update: The TNA vs. WWE Lawsuit”

  1. rtype6 (aka dsd7x) says:

    I wonder who's going to win this.

  2. mattcasdorph says:

    That Wittenstein guy is f*cked….lol

    You know WWE new it for 3 weeks? I'm sure wWE was doing something screwy if they didn't immediately notify TNA of it.

    Something else is funny, I wonder if WWE used that Information to scout Alex Shelly? I find it VERY odd that Shelly chose not to renew his contract right after TNA was bringing back the MCMG's? Does anyone else find that weird?

    • Peckar says:

      No. Not at all. Shelly wasn't used since Russo left as a singles competitor. MCM's are back together and I have seen them in one match since. If you are not being used given there popularity, why would you stick around? Especially when you have already seen what happens to other wrestlers that have already been down that path before with TNA.

  3. JeffandJoker says:

    First of all. . . . Even if the WWE had the info for three weeks, I am sure it took their legal department that amount of time to figure out if they were allowed to have that info.

    Plus, why would they call TNA and let them know that they were given the info??? They could have got rid of it and acted like it never happened.

    • Dante_Cross says:

      After they got what theyw anted, they make it seem like they were the good guys by wiping their hands clean. Simple dude.

    • rawuncutnxrated says:

      I agree w/ a lot of what you're saying, but I don't think it is that simple.

      I do think that it took 3 weeks because WWE's legal team were trying to find out how exposed to lawsuits & all that, they would be opened up to. Maybe not the entire 3 weeks, but I'm sure it wasn't done in a couple hours either. Doing the right thing isn't always as easy as doing the right thing… if that makes sense.

      I'm sure WWE isn't exactly "clean" here. The former emp. is the one who is really up sh*t creek.

      • Triple f says:

        No, that doesn’t make sense!

      • __Franke__ says:

        Yeah, I imagine that is how they're going to swing it in court. WWE can say that they were aware Wittenstein had landed them in shit so they educated themselves by pursuing all legal courses of action before returning the the documents. It's hard to convict someone for trying to follow the law, especially if there's no evidence to contradict what they're saying…

        Where Alex Shelley is concerned if he looks implicated it might cost him a WWE job. WWE would easily drop any interest in him to appear innocent whether they're actually guilty or not. Sad to admit because I only wish the best for Shelley.

        Where Flair is concerned he has enough history and friends in WWE for them to keep him as an entirely separate issue from this. WWE didn't need inside information to get Flair back, TNA are being silly if they think that is the case.

        Also, yes, there's no way that Wittenstein is getting out of this without taking it in the arse (proverbially of course… then maybe literally if he gets time).

    • ariesstormjoe says:

      well wwe claim they were doing the right thing letting tna know. and that by letting tna know its therefore covering its angles in terms of tna using it against them. however if it can be proven that wwe didnt notify tna immediately then thats a huge negative for wwe.

  4. Bigmike885 says:

    seriously..this whole thing pisses me off. Of course it took WWE 3 weeks..they had to look into leagalitites of if they could use it or not. The whole useing this to out-negotiate TNA is stupid. WWE can throw more money at anyone than TNA could. I get what TNA is trying to do here, but it's just a silly thing to be doing. What happens if this truly pisses Vince off?..And he does start to raid TNA by signing every single wreslter that becomes available? The sad part is the only people I've seen defending TNA on this are on this site.

    • Triple f says:

      Oh come on, bM885, I KNOW That you know better than that! It took 3 weeks to ” look into the legalities of whether they could use it or not”. PLEASE!!! If that’s the case, and I don’t for a second believe that it is, WWE is retaining the stupidest attorneys on the face of the planet! Pre-law students wouldn’t need 3 seconds, let alone 3 weeks, to figure that one out.

      You often accuse people on this site of being TNA “tools”, and I’ve agreed with you every single time! But, in that post, you sound like the WWE version of that term!

      RE: “pissing Vince off”. What if he pisses off Bob Carter? Need I remind you that in terms of power and wealth, geographically speaking, Carter is Mt. Everest and McMahon is New Orleans (20 ft. below sea level).

      • Bigmike885 says:

        Dude..i like you and respect your opinion, but you need to get off Bob Carters nuts..its obvious he doesnt really care about TNA and he's just funding it to keep his princess happy. As much as it sucks right now WWE is VKM's life. Vince will go bankrupt trying to defend it if need be (almost happend when WCW got hot). He would over pay for talent that Bob "probobly" wouldnt. While Bob carter is worth more money, a fraction of his wealth are geared tward TNA. All of Vinces money is available at will for WWE if need be. I completly see what you're saying when it comes to the attorneys, but sometime due diligance takes a long ass time (just ask my former employeer who is trying to defend themselfs against a wrongful terminition suit that they cant win). I personally think that this lawsuit is just a waste of time on TNA's part..i hope for the best for them, but i just see no good coming out of it.

        • Triple f says:

          BM885, I appreciate the compliment, and I hope I’m not confusing it was sarcasm. I, too, appreciate your opinion. You’re pretty much peerless with your wrestling knowledge on this site. ( Please guys, no “get a room” cracks, he’s a married man, not Dixie Carter).

          But, give this some thought: tremendous wealth is often accompanied by an equivalent ego. What if he’s reached the point with his daughter where he wants her to be THE major player, And he’s willing to fund it. All I’m saying is, if McMahon gets into a pissing contest with Carter, he will drown.

          Anyway, at least the way I see it, this case is not going to revolve around WWE, McMahon, Carter or TNA. This is all about Wittenstein. He is certainly the main culprit in this scenario, but I’m sure that the Carters are aware that they won’t get diddly out of him, compared to McMahon. If Wittenstein feels that he was “used” by McMahon, why wouldn’t he cut a deal with the Carter’s? They drop the suit against him, he testifies for them. At that point, it’s a new ball game. I would assume ( and I’m aware of the risks in doing that), that McMahon’s attorney’s would advise an OOC settlement. It would be his cheapest way out. Thoughts?

  5. UCEAD11 says:

    This is pretty much it for me. If there is proven legitimacy to this matter, I am done with the WWE product. Doesnt matter one way or the other but its complete BS to do something like that to a smaller company trying to make it. Now that Randy Orton is suspended, there is no need to watch WWE any longer. That was pretty much the only person I watched anyway. It is a huge coincidence that Alex Shelly, Matt Morgan, and Flair all of a sudden got hot foot to leave TNA. I am also willing to bet they wanted to get Austin Aries ( remember the article mentioning that) as well. Its way too much of a coincidence that around that time his contract was about to end all of a sudden WWE is interested. So since they couldnt get Austin, the get Alex. Can anyone say cruiser weight division. Things that make you go hmmmm.

  6. UCEAD11 says:

    I know even though it wont hurt mr billionaire, it will definitely tarnish Mrs Billionaires tenure in office. I also know that they will probably settle out of court and pay off any fines right away without blinking but I still think this is BS on WWE's part. Tampering in wrestling…wow….Then to throw ur hidden source under the bus….That's definitely HHH's doing. Oh and the three weeks….they couldnt get the people they were offered by their "source"… they threw him out there as the sacrificial lamb to cover WWE's rear end.

    • Triple f says:

      At first, I thought you were talking about Bob Carter. To be accurate with the man that you’re talking about, you have to delete the “b” in billionaire and substitute an “m”.

      Your mention of an OOC may eventually turn out to be spot on. If Wittenstein feels “used” by the WWE, he may well cut a deal with TNA. They drop the suit against him, and he testifies for them. That is a possibility, and that’s a game-changer!

  7. dcxboxx says:

    i think its unfair to the wwe in this case. 1 i dont think tna has a can win this or thinks it can. they just want and need the publicity for this i don't blame them. what they need to worry about is if wwe has any way they can counter sue just for the hell of it. and you know vince would do it just because and not even for the money he can be a dick. but if wwe didnt force Wittenstein into giving them such info. and he just handed it over hoping he would achieve some brownie points with the office, i think hes the main one at fault. no one can really blame wwe for looking at the info anyways. i doubt they had to look at the info on flair, because A he was going into the wwe hof, B he was at the event, im sure he just outright told them details on his contract to get a deal going. C he publicly stated well before being inducted that he wanted to go back to the wwe someday. matt morgon, tnas fault with that they used all of his dates way ahead of his contract expiring in october. plus matt said he wanted to go back. alex shelly, his contract was coming up im sure hes been in talks with wwe for a while, come on wwe wants to bring back the crusier weight divsion and give them a stand alone show on the wwe network. its not like they went out and offerered the main eventers deals. although kurt angle has shown interest but hes signed an extension.

  8. Aaron says:

    Wwe is going down for invasion of privacy n so on. n I hope Vince n hes family goto jail for life for it to

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