HARTFORD (Legal Newsline) — Not long after filing a lawsuit against World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE) over royalty payments, former professional wrestling star Marcus Bagwell heard the attorneys for WWE fire back publicly about the allegations against its organization.
A WWE spokesman sent an official statement to Legal Newsline regarding the matter.
"Bagwell's lawsuit is meritless," the statement said. "He never had a contract with WWE, and performed most of his career with World Championship Wrestling, owned at the time by the Turner Broadcasting System."
World Championship Wrestling, also known as WCW, was a rival to the WWF in the 1990s.
WWE's attorney is Jerry McDevitt. He told 411Mania, a niche entertainment news site with a special focus on wrestling and mixed martial arts, that several similar class action suits have arisen but have all gone nowhere because they are based on false accusations.
Bagwell's suit alleges that language in his former contract with WCW was merged with WWE 15 years ago. He says the language proves he is due royalties from video and pay per view content that have been used by the WWE.
Bagwell's class action suit, which includes all others similarly situated, was filed early August in U.S. District Court for the District of Connecticut. The suit alleges violation of the Connecticut Unfair Trade Practices Act.
Bagwell seeks a jury trial, certification for the complaint to proceed as a class action, punitive damages, interest, legal fees and all other relief the court deems proper. He is represented by attorneys Brendon Leydon of Tooher Wocl & Ledon LLC in Stamford, Connecticut, and by Clinton Krislov and Matthew Peterson of Krislov & Associates Ltd. in Chicago.
Bagwell maintains WWE has not paid due royalties on licensed content that was distributed, but WWE says the archival footage was purchased from WCW, which did not fall under any contract terms with Bagwell.
"Many years ago, WWE purchased the archival footage of WCW events and now owns all of those copyrights," the WWE statement said. "Bagwell was never promised royalties for the use of that footage by Turner or WWE, and we will demand that this lawsuit be voluntarily dismissed.”