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The W - Pro Wrestling - Owen Hart Lawsuit
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redsoxnation
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Since: 24.7.02

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#1 Posted on | Instant Rating: 5.91
http://www2.turnto10.com/news/news/2010/jun/22/wrestlers-widow-suing-wwe-mcmahon-conn-ar-117669/


I'm sure this is an issue the McMahon family wanted to keep away from during an election campaign. Timing also parallels that of Bret leaving the company.
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thecubsfan
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Since: 10.12.01
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#2 Posted on | Instant Rating: 10.00
    Originally posted by redsoxnation
    I'm sure this is an issue the McMahon family wanted to keep away from during an election campaign.


Would it be too cynical to wonder if maybe supporters of her opposition might be assisting in lawsuit?



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lotjx
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Since: 5.9.08

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#3 Posted on | Instant Rating: 1.41
Cynical, yes. Not true, who knows? Considering Linda's campaign dug up the military record, nothing is going to surprise as we get closer to November. I just hope this isn't due to Bret's T-Shirt if so, I'll be very disappointed. Regardless, I am curious to see she means by continually use she means the Hart DVD or other DVDS with Owen on it. I guess this means Owen will once again not get into the Hall of Fame. I understand she hates wrestling and all, but Owen deserves that spot. I guess it would mean more if we had a physical Hall of Fame though.
CajunMan
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Since: 2.1.02
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#4 Posted on | Instant Rating: 0.88
I thought they settled this years ago? Sounds like Martha needs money again.
Loosie
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Since: 2.1.02
From: Kitchener, Ontario

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#5 Posted on | Instant Rating: 1.36
I'm annoyed by this, because Martha only thinks it's the WWE 'exploiting' Owen's death, but to me it's honouring his legacy and the contributions he made.

If this lawsuit passes we may get another 'Benoit situation' where Owen no longer exists in WWE History. Which would really really suck.

While part of me wants to say "I wish she could just let it go and stop denying the fans Owen's legacy". I also cannot put myself in her shoes.

As for Bret not being on TV, I read on 411 who stole from PWInsider that Bret is getting married again in about a month so this is why he is off TV. (linky: http://www.pwinsider.com/article/48551/bret-hart-getting-married-again.html?p=1)



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hansen9j
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Since: 7.11.02
From: Riderville, SK

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#6 Posted on | Instant Rating: 7.90
    Originally posted by Loosie
    I'm annoyed by this, because Martha only thinks it's the WWE 'exploiting' Owen's death, but to me it's honouring his legacy and the contributions he made.

    If this lawsuit passes we may get another 'Benoit situation' where Owen no longer exists in WWE History. Which would really really suck.

    While part of me wants to say "I wish she could just let it go and stop denying the fans Owen's legacy". I also cannot put myself in her shoes.
But if WWE is violating an agreement, she's within her rights to enforce it, as she presumably gave up further compensation in exchange for this concession when they settled.

It's pretty comparable to the WWF/WWE name lawsuit, I'd think.

That being said, is this lawsuit basically about the Hart Foundation DVD? Because outside of that, I can't think of when WWE has "kept using Owen Hart's image to promote the business".



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Alex
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Since: 24.2.02

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#7 Posted on | Instant Rating: 3.91
I'm assuming they haven't Benoited him out of 24/7 footage and DVD releases of old events, so that could be it.
thecubsfan
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Since: 10.12.01
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#8 Posted on | Instant Rating: 10.00
    Originally posted by Loosie
    If this lawsuit passes we may get another 'Benoit situation' where Owen no longer exists in WWE History. Which would really really suck.


It would, but it's apparently what Martha thought she was given in the first lawsuit. And so we have a second one.

    Originally posted by f4wonline
    Martha Hart said she didn't realize until this past year that the company had used Hart's likeness and name in videos, websites, television shows and print materials.


This seems...unlikely.



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Loosie
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Since: 2.1.02
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#9 Posted on | Instant Rating: 1.36
    Originally posted by thecubsfan
      Originally posted by Loosie
      If this lawsuit passes we may get another 'Benoit situation' where Owen no longer exists in WWE History. Which would really really suck.


    It would, but it's apparently what Martha thought she was given in the first lawsuit. And so we have a second one.

      Originally posted by f4wonline
      Martha Hart said she didn't realize until this past year that the company had used Hart's likeness and name in videos, websites, television shows and print materials.


    This seems...unlikely.


Actually it does seem likely. From what I've heard/read, whether legit or rumor (sorry can't remember where or when I read/heard it) Martha doesn't watch WWE at all. She pretty much distanced herself after the lawsuit setelment.

*WARNING SPECULATION COMING UP* Oje is 18. I'm sure he was/is keeping up with family, including Uncle Bret being at WrestleMania and his grandfather being inducted in the Hall of Fame. Also his cousins are now in the WWE. I'm sure his friends in high school know who he is and who his father was, I'm sure he's either been watching or starting to watch because he hears so much about his father. This news gets back to his mom, because mothers know everything that happens with thier kids. And this is how she knows about Owen being mentioned. Or maybe Oje now wants to be a wreslter

Again I can't say "I know the pain she is going through" because I don't. From what I've seen the WWE are not explointing Owen. They have realesed sets of DVD that have featured Owen but nothing specifcally has FOCUSED on Owen. They acknowledge that Owen was one of thier great stars of the past. I don't see how that is 'exploitation'. Owen was never the direct selling point of anything.

I know she lost her husband, and that it was a bitter lawsuit too. But it's been 11 years. He was a public figure and has fans who want to celebrate his acomplishments, let them.



Loosie.
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Since: 7.11.02
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#10 Posted on | Instant Rating: 7.90
    Originally posted by Loosie
      Originally posted by thecubsfan
        Originally posted by Loosie
        If this lawsuit passes we may get another 'Benoit situation' where Owen no longer exists in WWE History. Which would really really suck.


      It would, but it's apparently what Martha thought she was given in the first lawsuit. And so we have a second one.

        Originally posted by f4wonline
        Martha Hart said she didn't realize until this past year that the company had used Hart's likeness and name in videos, websites, television shows and print materials.


      This seems...unlikely.


    Actually it does seem likely. From what I've heard/read, whether legit or rumor (sorry can't remember where or when I read/heard it) Martha doesn't watch WWE at all. She pretty much distanced herself after the lawsuit setelment.
She likely would have been receiving periodic royalty cheques. And if she wasn't, that probably would have been a part of this lawsuit.



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lotjx
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Since: 5.9.08

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#11 Posted on | Instant Rating: 1.40
Well if she is shielding her children from the WWE and only started watching due Bret returning who was basically on her side all the time during the first lawsuit then I can see that. Since Bret's return and the Harts tag team getting a major push I have noticed more refrences to Owen then usually. Plus, most who is going to take the time to go over every WWE DVD or 24/7 listing to see if Owen is in there? Christ, I didn't even know the Steamboat DVD was out til 411Mania started reviewing this week. It could also be the case where it was ok before since there was no major Owen items, now all of the sudden there is the Hart DVD, Bret's T-shirt and 24/7 stuff. She could have also told them earlier to stop, but the refused like the WWF case.

All, I know its another skeleton brought out in the McMahon closet during an election. It looks fishy, but maybe its the only way to get their attention is to do this during the election. God willing, she will lose this election and maybe some of this craziness will stop. I doubt though.
Loosie
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Since: 2.1.02
From: Kitchener, Ontario

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#12 Posted on | Instant Rating: 1.36
This story on Google clears up some of the points I think. Specifcally this



    Both McDevitt and Rubenstein agree there is nothing in a wrongful death settlement that WWE reached with Martha Hart in 2000 addressing the company's use of Owen Hart's image



McDevitt is of course WWE's lawyer and Rubenstein is Martha's lawyer.

The article mentions that Martha has 'objected' to the use, but nothing about a legal agreement.

This of course has now led to speculation of the timing of the lawsuit (which is also addressd in the article).

Here is a link to the full article

http://www.google.com/​​​hostednews/​​​ap/​​​article/​​​ALeqM5h13iR9MHPYC3-​​​KTwTUkA-​​​2_​​​wrvqgD9GGGD600

{ Fixed link - Ed. }

(edited by CRZ on 22.6.10 1445)

EDIT - Thanks CRZ, also here is another link to a more politically slanted view.

http://www.politico.com/​​news/​​stories/​​0610/​​38849.html

(edited by Loosie on 22.6.10 1550)

Second Edit -

Just looking at other sites and what not, brought me to the Owen Hart Foundation site (which is incorrectly linked on the marthahartsueswwe.com site, which is hilarious). But anyways, this is off topic but hold crap Oje is really starting to look like his dad.

Anyways the marthahartsueswwe.com site has a link to the 50 lawsuit document, and man it's seething in it bitterness. And one line stuck out to me. She's pissed becuase Vince and Linda did not apologize to her.


    Defendants have never once
    apologized to Martha or Owen’s and her children for their role in causing Owen’s death. For this reason and others, Martha has refused all association of her late
    husband’s image, likeness and name with the WWE, Mr. McMahon or Mrs. McMahon since Owen’s death.


And also the main reason that Linda is on the suit (that I can tell, I'm not a lawyer) is that she signed Owen's contract.

Here's the lawsuit, which includes as 'Exhibit A' Owen's contract.

(edited by Loosie on 22.6.10 1700)

Loosie.
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DJ FrostyFreeze
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Since: 2.1.02
From: Hawthorne, CA

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#13 Posted on | Instant Rating: 8.43
Read it and weep, fella


I skimmed through the lawsuit to get to Owen's contract so sorry if I missed it, but it sounds like she's only suing because "mean bad WWE keeps associating my dearly departed husband's holy image & likeness with their filthy company that I hate" (sorry for making light of her loss, etc).

But check out what I found in Owen's contract:

    Originally posted by Section 11.3 under EARLY TERMINATION (Page 38 of the .pdf)
    Upon termination of this Agreement for any reason, including for breach as set forth in paragraphs 12.1 through 12.4, the parties acknowledge that PROMOTER shall have the exclusive right to sell or otherwise dispose of any materials, goods, merchandise, or other items (i) produced during the term of of this Agreement, incorporating any Original Intellectual Property, and (ii) whenever produced incorporating New Intellectual Property.
Doesnt sound like she has a leg to stand on to me.



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CRZ
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Since: 9.12.01
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#14 Posted on | Instant Rating: 8.41
DISCLAIMER: IANAL

    Originally posted by DJ FrostyFreeze
      Originally posted by Section 11.3 under EARLY TERMINATION (Page 38 of the .pdf)
      Upon termination of this Agreement for any reason, including for breach as set forth in paragraphs 12.1 through 12.4, the parties acknowledge that PROMOTER shall have the exclusive right to sell or otherwise dispose of any materials, goods, merchandise, or other items (i) produced during the term of of this Agreement, incorporating any Original Intellectual Property, and (ii) whenever produced incorporating New Intellectual Property.
    Doesnt sound like she has a leg to stand on to me.


I think you're reading that wrong. As far as "Original Intellectual Property" goes, they can only sell stuff which they had already produced prior to the termination of the agreement. Afterwards, the rights go back to the wrestler (3.2b). That would include "Owen Hart" the name and perhaps even his likeness (3.1).

So, say, Blue Blazer DVDs probably wouldn't be a problem as they'd fall under "New Intellectual Property" (as I read the Second Amendment to the contract), but Owen Hart DVDs probably WOULD be a problem - which may explain why we haven't seen any.

(edited by CRZ on 22.6.10 1753)


Loosie
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Since: 2.1.02
From: Kitchener, Ontario

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#15 Posted on | Instant Rating: 1.36
The AP article I linked to before has been updated and it mentions two different sections of the contract that seem to 'conflict' depending on how you spin it.

Martha's camp is pointing to the provision which says that upon termination the controller of 'original intellectual property' including leagal name, ring name, likeness, personalitly, character blah blah blah reverts back to the wrestler after temination.

But then there is what Frosty brought up and the AP Article mentiones this


    The same contract, which was signed by Linda McMahon, says the promoter, its licensees and sublicensees "may continue to exploit materials, goods, merchandise and other items incorporating any original intellectual property made before such termination until all such materials, goods and merchandise are sold off."


So while there may not be a 'new' Owen DVD you could spin that footage of Owen they have is 'original intellectual property made before such termination'

It'll defently be interesting to see what will happen with this, especially since Martha wants a jury trial.

Given the first paragraph of the lawsuit, I wonder if she would drop everything if the McMahon's do apologize. I can understand why they didn't apologize right away, they were getting sued by her so were probably told by thier lawyers to not say antyhing at all to her.



Loosie.
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Since: 2.1.02
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#16 Posted on | Instant Rating: 8.43
Read it and weep, fella


    Originally posted by Loosie
    Martha's camp is pointing to the provision which says that upon termination the controller of 'original intellectual property' including leagal name, ring name, likeness, personalitly, character blah blah blah reverts back to the wrestler after temination.
I wondered about that. It almost seems that part of the contract SHOULD say: "This Agreement is officially ended upon termination EXCEPT FOR THE PART WHERE WE STILL OWN ALL YOUR STUFF FOREVER". I wonder if WWE gets busted for that loophole and if any other former employees can benefit too.



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lotjx
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Since: 5.9.08

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#17 Posted on | Instant Rating: 1.40
I would expect the McMahon's don't apologize since it would open up them up to more lawsuits. Even though, they should have had a long time ago. I also wondered if Vince did try the stunt before Owen like he did with Shawn at WM 12? I would think that if she gets a jury trial, WWE's reputation will work against them especially if its done in Kansas City instead of some town in Connecticut. I can see this going either way since I have zero faith in the legal system when it comes to corporations.
Loosie
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Since: 2.1.02
From: Kitchener, Ontario

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#18 Posted on | Instant Rating: 1.36
    Originally posted by lotjx
    I would expect the McMahon's don't apologize since it would open up them up to more lawsuits. Even though, they should have had a long time ago. I also wondered if Vince did try the stunt before Owen like he did with Shawn at WM 12? I would think that if she gets a jury trial, WWE's reputation will work against them especially if its done in Kansas City instead of some town in Connecticut. I can see this going either way since I have zero faith in the legal system when it comes to corporations.


I'd expect the trial to happen in Connecticut since that's where the suit was filed. I don't know American Law, but I'm fairly certain the place where the lawsuit is filed is where the case would have to be tried.



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Since: 2.1.02
From: Kitchener, Ontario

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#19 Posted on | Instant Rating: 1.36
http://www.vancouversun.com/​sports/​slapped+​with+​lawsuit+​from+​Canadian+​wrestler+​Owen+​Hart+​widow/​3192093/​story.html

This is an article from Vancouver Sun, that has a response from McDevitt, mostly what's already been reported.

It also has comments from Ross Hart. His views on the situation are similar to mine.




    Bret Hart was not available for comment on Tuesday, but another one of Owen’s siblings, Ross Hart, said he was surprised by the lawsuit.

    "If (WWE) exploited (Owen’s) name negatively . . . I can understand, but this really was a documentary about the whole family," Ross said. "It was done in pretty good taste, even by WWE standards."

    Ross said while he understands Martha’s bitterness toward the WWE and the wrestling business, that business is key to the late grappler’s legacy.

    "Wrestling is really what made Owen famous and successful and such a legend and you can’t erase that," Ross said. "As tragic and wrongful as his death was, you can’t erase his legacy and what he accomplished in wrestling."



(edited by Loosie on 23.6.10 1706)


Loosie.
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odessasteps
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Since: 2.1.02
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#20 Posted on | Instant Rating: 6.23

If I read Meltzer's summation of the lawsuit in the Observer correctly, it also sounds like Martha is complaining that she went years without getting any royalty checks from Owen matches.

It seems odd that there would not have been an inquiry in that matter before now.

The timing of the lawsuit and her incindiary comment at the presser would certainly seem to indicate there's some political motivations behind it, even if her claims were all 100% valid.

I wonder if this lawsuit cost Bret his GM gig.



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