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22.9.14 1119
The W - Pro Wrestling - Brock Lesnar vs. WWE - some documents
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CRZ
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Since: 9.12.01
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#1 Posted on | Instant Rating: 8.44
Since I have oodles of money burning a hole in my pocked, I logged onto PACER and grabbed the PDF's of Lesnar's complaint (filed in February) and the WWE's response (filed...last Friday, I think) along with the WWE's attached exhibits (contracts!), just for those of you who find the PWInsider "synopsis" not quite as in-depth as you'd have hoped. They're all in http://the-w.com/downloads for now. I forget if we have any lawyers on here (or if they want us to KNOW they're lawyers) but any *informed* comment on these papers would make me feel less like I blew seven or eight bucks. ;-)



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CRZ
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TheBucsFan
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Since: 2.1.02

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#2 Posted on | Instant Rating: 4.42
So I guess it goes something like this:

Lesnar signed a contract with a one-year no-compete clause, a contract which had specific outlines for ways either party (WWE or Lesnar) could request to terminate the contract and how that would be handled. When Lesnar asked for his release, they signed a settlement agreement that served the following significant purposes:

Lesnar stated he had no desire to be a professional wrestler.
Lesnar stated he wanted a release so he could try and play in the NFL.
WWE released his of his contract.
Lesnar agreed to a no-compete clause that would last the span of his contract, or until June 30, 2010.

So Lesnar is saying the WWE is "punishing" him for asking out of the contract as permitted. I'm no lawyer, so I don't know if "yeah, but you still signed it," is a legal theory or not.

Also, the original contract said both parties agreed that Lesnar leaving would cause damage beyond repair. Lesnar's complaint says the WWE did not experience irrepairable damage, as evident in the facts that there have been many World Champions since Lesnar and that WWE has declined to resign Lesnar. Lesnar says he is cleared because he made significant effort to play in the NFL but no teams were interested, and now WWE is stopping him from making a living in the only field in which he is trained. He says he's in his athletic prime and will lose his most profitable years as an athlete if he is forced to sit out the duration of his Booking Contract.

Further complaints include that the settlement agreement bans Lesnar during the term from participating in "ultimate fighting" or "sports entertainment," terms that are not defined in the agreement or the contract. WWE's response is along the lines of "yeah, but you know what they mean." Again, I have no idea if that is a legal defense or not.

There also is a disagreement on Lensar's job status. He argues that he is a performing artist, which WWE's response denies, going on to say Lesnar is instead an independent contractor. I don't know what that means.





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sweetroll
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Since: 23.3.02
From: Fort Lauderdale, Fla.

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#3 Posted on | Instant Rating: 6.18
After reading the motion and response, my two posts in this thread (The W) (quoted below) still seem right.

Most of the claims/counterclaims are lawyers spinning their wheels. I don't think a judge would really care how unique Lesnar's skills are in his chosen profession, and I don't think it matters how vehemently WWE wants to protect its contracts.

I still think a judge would focus on the reasonableness of the time and geography restrictions. Even if he goes beyond the scope of the non-compete restrictions, there's not going to be a "winner" in this case: a judge is going to find an equitable resolution somewhere between the two parties' demands. The WWE has deeper pockets than Brock, so if I'm him, I'm mediating this before my lawyers bleed me dry.

I'm just shooting off the top of my head here. I could take the time to research some statutory and case law, but... ya know.

    Originally posted by me, a couple of months ago
    The big lug probably has a legit claim against the WWE. It seems simple to say, "If you don't like a deal, don't sign it." Usually when negotiating out of a contract, the employer has the upper hand in negotiations. So, you can't impose a ridiculous non-compete clause out of spite. If Vince wanted to keep Lesnar off his competitor's air, he could have refused to release him.

    "Restraints on postemployment competition that are so burdensome that their anticompetitive purposes and effects outweigh their justifications may be struck down under a rule of reason." That's pretty much how you sum up the rules for non-compete clauses. The judge will try to figure out if the six-year length is too long to be reasonable (maybe, maybe not), and if the international restraints are too restrictive (probably).
    Originally posted by me, a couple of months ago
    Connecticut law may be different, but here's how the situation could have played out.

    Lesnar wants out of his contract. Vince can either A) release him outright, with a reasonable non-compete clause, B) refuse to release him, then sue Lesnar for non-performance, or C) refuse to release him, using common sense to figure out that a guy who hasn't played competitive football since high school won't make the NFL.

    The WWE probably should have picked choice B. If Vince had held Lesnar to the contract, Lesnar would probably have to pay Vince whatever lost business the company could prove from his departure, AND be subject a reasonable non-compete order.

    Both Vince's and Brock's lawyers look like they cut some serious corners in the settlement. I'm obviously not privy to the original contract or subsequent non-compete agreement, so there may be much more to this issue.

    Again, saying Brock shouldn't have signed the agreement seems like a common sense response, but the law doesn't always operate under common sense. The law recognizes the employer as having significantly stronger bargaining power than an employee, and I would think courts would favor "independent contractors" even more (though I'm not sure).

    Of course, all of this goes out the window if Connecticut law is markedly different than anything I've studied, or there's some labor law theory I'm unaware of. Or, I might be completely full of shit and not realize it.


(edited by sweetroll on 7.4.05 1421)
Freeway
Scrapple








Since: 3.1.02
From: Calgary

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#4 Posted on | Instant Rating: 5.92
OTHER FUN NOTES:
EXHIBIT 1:
-Contract was for a million dollar downside guarantee (unless he's injured for six months due to injury, a case in which his downside would go down a bit) plus pieces of PPV gates, t-shirt/video sales & house show receipts
-Signed on July 1, 2003, good until June 30, 2010.
-Lesnar owns own name, but F5 & The Next Big Thing are WWE property
-Wrestlers can be fired if they don't show up an hour before a show, unless they're late due to fire, flood or "act of God".
-Contract could be gotten out of by mutual consent.

EXHIBIT 2:
-May 11, 2004 agreement (as persuant to other contract) was a mutual release with a no-compete clause good until end of Lesnar's original contract.

Not entirely sure that Lesnar has a leg to stand on legally. He wanted out and got a mutual release, but since Lesnar was both young and a former WWE Champion the WWE understandably wanted a no-compete clause. He signed it. He knew what it was.



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Mayhem
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Since: 25.4.03
From: Nashville, TN

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#5 Posted on | Instant Rating: 3.16

So are we still taking wagers on when he'll be back?



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jwrestle
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Since: 4.4.03
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#6 Posted on | Instant Rating: 1.38
    Originally posted by Mayhem

    So are we still taking wagers on when he'll be back?


Hmm...I'm not much of a gambler and that sounds like a bad bet unless he can prove something that is totally not in that contract, which the last time I check a piece of paper that is written out can become a contract if signed by two parties, stated to a tee.




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Thingfish
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Since: 13.4.05
From: Edinburgh, Scotland.

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#7 Posted on
    Originally posted by jwrestle
      Originally posted by Mayhem

      So are we still taking wagers on when he'll be back?


    Hmm...I'm not much of a gambler and that sounds like a bad bet unless he can prove something that is totally not in that contract, which the last time I check a piece of paper that is written out can become a contract if signed by two parties, stated to a tee.


As far as I understand it, though, there is no impediment to him working with the WWE in the near future as long as they are willing to take him back and promote him in spite of the gestures he made to fans back at WMXX. I can well imagine they'll come to some kind of agreement that is mutually beneficial, but Lesnar himself will have some measure of humble pie to eat when it comes to the fans.
kingleo
Linguica








Since: 26.11.04
From: Logan, UT

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#8 Posted on
The release contract prohibits Brock's wife from making disparaging comments about Muscle Tech until December 31, 2006. The contract actually says he has control over his spouse. Weird.
too-old-now
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Since: 7.1.04

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#9 Posted on | Instant Rating: 2.59
-He'll be back at some point - not sure when, but it'll happen. Vince has proven he'll put money ahead of ego in the past.

The downside I see is if it disrupts the locker room - but then again the boys will be delighted if ratings go up, if they play in front of bigger crowds, etc. Sure there'd be some wrestlers upset if he takes their spot, but the vast majority of fans would pop huge for a Lesnar return.

Maybe I'm overstating his talent, but I don't think so. He had some awesome matches, and not just with Angle who was getting good matches from everyone. His feud with the Big Show was the best feud Show's ever had in terms of match quality, not to mention holy shit moments (F-5 aka F-500, not to mention the ring collapsing slam.

Anyone who thinks a Lesnar return would mean him jobbing to Kidman, Akio, or even a returning Zach Gowen, is just crazy. If Lesnar returns it's because Vince thinks he can help draw, so why would Vince take him back not to make money.

The only big difference in a Lesnar return would be in the size of his paycheck. It'll be higher than Lesnar's able to get now, but way lower than he had before. Once Lesnar realizes that everyone's paycheck is lower now than before he'll resign if he really wants to compete. Is that what you meant by humble pie? Cuz I don't see how the fans would care about any of this background stuff.

Kingleo, clauses controlling a spouse's potential disparaging comments are fair game, even relatively standard in many contracts involving public figures, particularly entertainers. As an example, how would it look if Tom Hanks' wife started badmouthing a particular movie studio. Can you imagine Bill Parcell's wife badmouthing the NFL, or Tony Stewart's wife publicly dissing Home Depot?

In any event, thank you CRZ for parting with a few yen to provide us with an update on where things stand between Lesnar and the WWE.
kingleo
Linguica








Since: 26.11.04
From: Logan, UT

Since last post: 66 days
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#10 Posted on | Instant Rating: 10.00
I understand the theory behind the clause in the contract, but the wording seems a bit odd.

"anyone under his direct control (i.e. Lesnar's spouse or manager)"
Snookum
Kishke








Since: 19.6.03
From: Louisville

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#11 Posted on | Instant Rating: 6.49
    Originally posted by kingleo
    I understand the theory behind the clause in the contract, but the wording seems a bit odd.

    "anyone under his direct control (i.e. Lesnar's spouse or manager)"


If it helps at all, I have a couple of friends who are lawyers in New York. They always get a kick out of contracts from the Connecticut area, as the wording in them are so militant and old-fashion.

Canadian contracts are a kick for the same reason, only with a few more "royals" and biblical terms thrown in as well.
Thingfish
Cotto








Since: 13.4.05
From: Edinburgh, Scotland.

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#12 Posted on | Instant Rating: 1.00
    Originally posted by too-old-now
    Once Lesnar realizes that everyone's paycheck is lower now than before he'll resign if he really wants to compete. Is that what you meant by humble pie? Cuz I don't see how the fans would care about any of this background stuff


No, what I meant is that he would not be able to be demanding of higher wages or better spots until he has proven to the fans that he is a team-player again and is willing to rebuild his WWE career from a lower level than when he left. He'd need to accept he can't simply go straight back into the main event and have the fans happy to see him there ahead of other wrestlers who've remained loyal all this time.
too-old-now
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Since: 7.1.04

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#13 Posted on | Instant Rating: 2.59
    Originally posted by Thingfish


    No, what I meant is that he would not be able to be demanding of higher wages or better spots until he has proven to the fans that he is a team-player again and is willing to rebuild his WWE career from a lower level than when he left. He'd need to accept he can't simply go straight back into the main event and have the fans happy to see him there ahead of other wrestlers who've remained loyal all this time.


This is what I thought you were saying. I think it is just plain wrong. If Brock comes back anytime within the next couple of years, he will still be remembered by enough of the fans as a former champion who left at the top of his game, and will immediately be a credible contender for the top belt. Vince knows this, and knows he can make the most money using Brock in either a top-title chase or reign. Only a small portion of fans would not accept him as a credible threat.

By your thinking, Vince would not have signed Goldberg and given him a run at the top - since other guys were loyal there while Bill was collecting a paycheck to stay at home.

I'm not suggesting Brock should comeback and immediately challenge for the title - I think he should first be given a tuneup or two against an upper midcard jobber like Jericho, Benoit, or Booker T, etc.

There would be a huge pop for a Brock return, but handled properly he could come back as a monster heel - I'd love to see the crowd chant "quitter, quitter, quitter" at him. It could mirror the Angle "You Suck!" chants, which most fans don't really agree with but love to chant along with. A feud with Jericho starting with a "welcome back, quitter" highlight reel could also bring out the best in Jericho, who hasn't done much in a while.
sentonBOMB
Frankfurter








Since: 25.11.02
From: Jersey

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#14 Posted on | Instant Rating: 1.64
    Originally posted by too-old-now
      Originally posted by Thingfish


      No, what I meant is that he would not be able to be demanding of higher wages or better spots until he has proven to the fans that he is a team-player again and is willing to rebuild his WWE career from a lower level than when he left. He'd need to accept he can't simply go straight back into the main event and have the fans happy to see him there ahead of other wrestlers who've remained loyal all this time.


    This is what I thought you were saying. I think it is just plain wrong. If Brock comes back anytime within the next couple of years, he will still be remembered by enough of the fans as a former champion who left at the top of his game, and will immediately be a credible contender for the top belt. Vince knows this, and knows he can make the most money using Brock in either a top-title chase or reign. Only a small portion of fans would not accept him as a credible threat.

    By your thinking, Vince would not have signed Goldberg and given him a run at the top - since other guys were loyal there while Bill was collecting a paycheck to stay at home.

    I'm not suggesting Brock should comeback and immediately challenge for the title - I think he should first be given a tuneup or two against an upper midcard jobber like Jericho, Benoit, or Booker T, etc.

    There would be a huge pop for a Brock return, but handled properly he could come back as a monster heel - I'd love to see the crowd chant "quitter, quitter, quitter" at him. It could mirror the Angle "You Suck!" chants, which most fans don't really agree with but love to chant along with. A feud with Jericho starting with a "welcome back, quitter" highlight reel could also bring out the best in Jericho, who hasn't done much in a while.


They'd definitely have to bring him back as a heel, judging by his last match where both competitors were booed in a big way.

As for Jericho, I think he is occupied with Shelton Benjamin at the moment.
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