In a story broken by RingBellesOnline.com and since confirmed by f4wonline.com, former TNA Knockout Shannon Spruill, aka Daffney, has won an out of court settlement from her former employer two years after she filed a Workers’ Compensation claim for injuries that she sustained in the ring and TNA had refused to pay the medical bills for.
The case was settled at the last minute, because the judge was about to make a ruling on the validity of the company's classification of their wrestlers as independent contractors.
Like WWE, TNA abuses the term independent contractor by preventing their talent from taking outside dates with other promotions that have television deals, produces iPPVs or sells DVDs of their events.
If the judge had ruled that Daffney was indeed misclassified and should have been considered as an employee, then it would have cost both major wrestling companies millions of dollars in increased tax bills and withheld benefits like health insurance and pension provision. No wonder they ended up giving Daffney what she wanted!
For more details about the background to this lawsuit, you should read our former writer Sharon Glencross' excellent story that documented the sad story of Shannon "Daffney" Spruill in TNA.
Basically, TNA's Head of Talent Relations Terry Taylor reneged on a promise to cover Daffney's hospital fees that stemmed from a laundry list of injuries (three concussions, a broken arm, a deeply bruised sternum and a stinger) caused by reckless in ring stunts and then fired her when she took the legal remedies at her disposal to force their hand.
As a teary Daffney confided to Diva Dirt in July 2012, she believes that she'll never wrestle again due to the serious concussions that she suffered in TNA and that their management encouraged her to work through.
Daffney had this to say about her welcome legal victory on Twitter:
"I'd like to take this opportunity to sincerely thank all the love and support over the past two years. I appreciate so much that you recognize the HUGE injustice that is being done to Professional Wrestlers throughout the industry. I hope my case has opened up a few blind eyes and maybe now we, the wrestlers who put our bodies on the line every time we step in the ring, are one step closer to being provided with medical coverage and all the benefits that go along with being a true employee and not an independent contractor."
Unfortunately that may be wishful thinking, as WWE and TNA will never voluntarily change their workers' classification, and, as this latest case demonstrates, both companies would settle any lawsuits that would risk jeopardising the status quo.
I have to close this article by saying shame on TNA for stalling this out as long as possible and only paying up when the shit was about to hit the fan. Their behaviour throughout this sorry saga was disgusting and repugnant.