Ashley Massaro is the most recent former WWE talent to join in a lawsuit against the company, alleging sexual abuse and brain trauma. Massaro claims that she was sexually assaulted while visiting a US base in Kuwait on behalf of WWE in 2006. She claims company doctors examined her following the incident and reported their findings to WWE executives, who then persuaded the former Playboy cover girl to keep quiet as they handled the situation internally.
The allegation of sexual assault is one of just several logged by the former Diva Search contestant, who is now joining an already established lawsuit against the media conglomerate claiming WWE concealed the dangers of repetitive head injuries that have caused over 50 former Superstars neurological damage.
Massaro isn’t the only new addition to the lawsuit, which was already comprised of 52 plaintiffs, as the family of Jon Rechner (Balls Mahoney) have also joined the fight against WWE. Rechner, as previously note, passed away in April of this year from a heart attack at just 44 years old. Following his untimely death, he was diagnosed postmortem with chronic traumatic encephalopathy, or CTE.
Rechner is only the third professional wrestler to have been diagnosed with CTE, and is the first, via his family, to hold WWE legally accountable.
The road for Massaro and Rechner’s family is sure to be rocky, however, as just 24-hours prior to their joining the suit, a federal judge dismissed two cases against WWE filed in Connecticut. As previously noted, Judge Vanessa Bryant dismissed the families of Nelson Frazier and Matthew Osborne, claiming their deaths weren’t verifiably linked to CTE. It’s interesting to point out that Konstantine Kyros, the attorney representing Frazier and Osborne, is also involved in the case now including Massaro and Rechner.
Massaro claims she’s suffered several concussions, including one that left her unconscious for five minutes during her tenure ending in 2008. She says she never received any care for injuries that have lead to depression, anxiety, memory loss, migraines, and was told to “shake it off.” Massaro, who’s now 37, claims her time with WWE lead to her subsequent drug addiction that WWE helped her get past in 2010.
In addition, Massaro claims she suffered: a hairline fracture to her spine; two herniated disks; an ankle fracture that required a five-inch metal plate; and a shattered knuckle on her right hand. Furthermore, Massaro alleges WWE chairman Vince McMahon ordered doctors to remove a cast from her hand weeks before it was supposed to come off, so that she could appear at an event that night.
WWE attorney Jerry McDevitt chose not to comment on Massaro directly, and instead cited the WWE’s motion for sanctions against Kyros Konstantine. WWE is expected to address the new plaintiffs and their allegations once McDevitt files a motion to dismiss the case.
Another former wrestler who’s recently joined the lawsuit is Perry Satullo, AKA Perry Saturn, who developed a drug addiction that spiraled into homelessness when he was in his 40s. Now 50 years old, Saturn says he suffers from a myriad of CTE symptoms and is undergoing neurological care.
As of this writing, WWE has never lost a case involving a former talents’ alleged brain injuries, despite a precedent recently set by lawsuits against the National Football League and National Hockey League. The NFL reached a $1B settlement with a number of former players, whereas the NHL’s case is still in litigation.
Source: The Boston Globe
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