clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

Doink The Clown's family files wrongful death lawsuit against WWE

The family of the late Matthew Wade Osborne, who had a couple of one year runs wrestling for WWE under the names of Matt Borne and Doink The Clown, have filed a wrongful death lawsuit against WWE, arguing that the long term effects of brain trauma led to his premature passing.

If you buy something from an SB Nation link, Vox Media may earn a commission. See our ethics statement.

Doink The Clown's family becomes the 8th party to sue WWE over the long term effects of brain trauma.
Doink The Clown's family becomes the 8th party to sue WWE over the long term effects of brain trauma.

According to The Dallas Morning News, Michelle James, the mother of Matthew David Osborne and Teagan Osborne, has filed a wrongful death lawsuit on her children's behalf against WWE for the wrongful death of their father, Matthew Wade Osborne, who wrestled for the company under the names of Matt Borne and Doink The Clown. A copy of the lawsuit can be read here.

Osborne died two years ago of a toxic overdose of morphine and hydrocodone. The lawsuit attempts to argue that the long term effects of brain trauma suffered during his 25 year wrestling career directly led to his premature death at age 55:

"As a direct and proximate result of WWE's failure to properly monitor, assess, diagnose, and treat Matthew Osborne's injuries, and failure to non-negligently and non-fraudulently inform him of the risks of concussions and sub-concussive injuries, Matthew Osborne died at the age of fifty-five at his home in Plano, Dallas County, Texas from an accidental drug overdose and arterio-sclerotic and hypertensive cardiovascular disease."

Unsurprisingly, the lawyer behind this litigation is Konstantine Kyros, who is also involved in the wrongful death lawsuit against WWE by the widow of Nelson Frazier Jr. (aka Mabel, Viscera and Big Daddy V), and the concussion lawsuits by Billy Jack HaynesAdam Mercer and Big Vito. Thus, the Osborne lawsuit is really just a more well-honed and updated version of the ones already submitted by Kyros. Copycat lawsuits have also been filed by former WWE wrestlers Luther Reigns, Russ McCullough and Ryan Sakoda.

This lawsuit shares many of the flaws of the others. Osborne only had two short runs working for WWE; first from March 1985 to April 1986 as undercard heel Matt Borne, and secondly from October 1992 to September 1993 as the original Doink The Clown. He had substance abuse problems throughout his career. Similar to Nelson Frazier Jr., no post-mortem study of his brain was conducted to find out whether he was suffering from chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE) at the time of his death.

In an effort to dissuade other people from jumping onboard the litigation bandwagon, WWE lawyer Jerry McDevitt told The Dallas Morning News that this lawsuit was equally as baseless as the rest and argued that the Osborne family had been conned into believing they could make money from suing WWE by a bunch of unscrupulous ambulance chasers:

WWE lawyer Jerry McDevitt has said previously that WWE is "being targeted by attorneys who tell [wrestlers and their families] there’s hundreds of thousands of dollars" to be made filing concussion-related suits. He tells The Dallas Morning News Friday evening this suit is no different — that it's just another one in a long line of legal filings aimed at "drumming up people ... looking for NFL money." The out-of-town attorneys behind the Dallas suit, he says, are also involved in similar ones in California and Connecticut.

"And they don't have any merit," he says. "They're all different from the NFL. We never had anyone claim they had these kinds of injuries until [these attorneys] did it. They find the destitute, people who have no money, and told them there's money to be made. That's what is going on. ... And I feel bad for these families, because they think they'll make money off of this, and they're not."

Expect the legal feud of Kyros vs. McDevitt to rumble on long into 2017, as they continue to battle on jurisdiction issues before the cases are even properly heard.

Sign up for the newsletter Sign up for the Cageside Seats Daily Roundup newsletter!

A daily roundup of all your pro wrestling news from Cageside Seats