Michael N. Todaro
The long and arduous lawsuit Total Nonstop Action (TNA) Impact Wrestling had filed against WWE has officially been withdrawn as of Jan. 14, 2013.
It's over. It's finally over.
All the way back in May 2012, Keith Harris brought word that TNA had dropped a legal bombshell on WWE by filing a lawsuit that had to do with contract tampering in regards to Ric Flair and the latter reportedly tampering with his contract while he was still signed to TNA. The lawsuit alleged that Brian Wittenstein, a former employee with the company, had passed on confidential information and WWE had used it to its advantage.
This has seemingly led to a big change in how WWE has been doing business over the past eight months or so, namely refusing to negotiate with any talent from TNA whose contract may have come up until heat from the lawsuit died down.
That includes only bringing back Flair on a date-by-date basis. Or at least that's what the big rumor has been, though PWInsider.com is reporting that "Contrary to persistent rumor, at no time was WWE enjoined from hiring or negotiating with former TNA talents or TNA talents who's deals were expiring."
Here's a bit more:
TNA had been claiming a civil conspiracy in their lawsuit, alleging that WWE and Wittenstein "conspired and agreed" to share confidential, trade secret and proprietary information Wittenstein "wrongfully took" from TNA. They stated that WWE would use and "did use" that information "to solicit and induce TNA's wrestling talent to breach their contracts with TNA and enter into contracts with WWE."
TNA noted in their original filing that due to Wittenstein and WWE's "misappropriation and/or threatened misappropriation of TNA's trade secrets, TNA will suffer damages, as well as immediate and irreparable harm. TNA has no adequate remedy at law." The lawsuit noted that "money damages cannot adequately compensate TNA, even if Defendants could respond by paying money damage."
The original lawsuit filing noted that TNA was "damaged in an amount in excess of the court's minimal jurisdictional limits" and that the conduct of WWE and Wittenstein "entitles TNA to an award of exemplary damages in an amount in excess of this Court's minimal jurisdictional limit."
There was no word on whether a settlement was reached between the parties in the documents signing off on the dismissal of the case.
Finally, it's all settled and the two sides can go back to hardly acknowledging each other's existence, other than TNA trying to get over its Aces and 8s group using old WWE jobbers and Vince McMahon stealing a few ideas, like lame voiceover guy.
Update by Keith Harris: According to Dave Meltzer on today's subscriber only Wrestling Observer radio show, "TNA got nothing other than [their own] legal bills" from the settlement of this case. Just thought that we should make clear that WWE didn't pay TNA a dime to put an end to this litigation. TNA just decided to wave the white flag of surrender.