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June 15, 2015

Lawsuit Against WWE And ESPN Dropped

A few months ago, we reported that the Gilbert family (specificially Tommy Gilbert as the executor of his son Eddie's estate and younger son Doug Gilbert on his own behalf) had sued both WWE and ESPN for using their likenesses without permission and not paying royalties. This is not the first time either company had been sued by a wrestler, with ESPN's victory over Kansas City wrestler Steve Ray being upheld on appeal about a week or so after news of the Gilbert lawsuit broke.

Today, a look at the case docket revealed that 11 days ago on June 4th, the Gilberts filed a Notice of Voluntary dismissal without prejudice. This means that they reserve the right to refile in the future. No word yet as to exactly why they dropped the case, though ESPN's continued success against Steve Ray was not a good sign.

It's worth noting that in the current issue of Fighting Spirit Magazine, Jim Cornette talks a bit about the idea of filing these types of lawsuits. Commonly, the wrestlers' arguments have been they worked without contracts. In the article, Cornette argues that this isn't quite as true as a lot of people think.

At TV tapings for Jim Crockett Promotions' television shows, there was a "sign-in sheet" where everyone had to sign in to get paid. That's how most wrestlers saw the sheet. In actuality, if anyone bothered to read it, they saw that it was a legal release against future claims. Many promoters also put a similar legal release against future claims above the signature line on wrestlers' paychecks.

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