After six days in court, featuring testimony from all the men named in Dr. Chris Amman’s defamation lawsuit against CM Punk and Colt Cabana for their November 2014 podcast detailing Punk’s time in and exit from WWE, the Cook County, Illinois jury who heard the case only needed two hours to come to a decision.
In closing arguments on Tues., June 5, Amman’s lawyer asked for $3,989,000 in compensatory damages (one dollar for each verifiable stream of the episode of The Art of Wrestling in question), plus punitive damages. At issue was whether Punk made, and Cabana helped him disseminate, false statements about the medical care he received from Amman while both were with WWE, and if those false statements constituted “defamation per se”. In the case, the plaintiff did not need to prove a financial impact from Punk and Cabana’s words, just emotional distress and damages.
The jury determined that there was no merit to Amann’s claims. As announced by the WrestleZone team who’s been providing amazing coverage of this whole affair:
The jury finds in favor of CM Punk (Philip Jack Brooks) and Colt Cabana (Scott Colton) on all counts filed by Dr. Chris Amann. Neither will have to pay anything.— Nick Hausman (@WZRebel) June 5, 2018
All counts (Defamation. False Light Defamation, Distribution) are found in favor of Defense (Punk & Cabana)— Ross W Berman IV (@RossWBermanIV) June 5, 2018
After the verdict was read, Hausman and Berman reported Punk and his wife, April Mendez Brooks (fka AJ Lee) hugged each other tight as they cried with relief. Cabana also looked relieved before he and AJ embraced. Amann was described as “staring off blankly”.
Plenty of analysis in the days and weeks to come, certainly. From this writer’s perspective, it’s difficult to not be happy about the verdict - especially for an indie trailblazer like Cabana, for whom a multi-million dollar award would have been devastating.