Three Former Wrestlers Sue WWE

Three former wrestlers sued the company April 9, alleging that they may have suffered brain injury during their tenures with the WWE. Ethan Miller/Getty

Three former World Wrestling Entertainment Inc. (WWE) wrestlers filed a class action in California against their onetime employer, claiming it "has for decades subjected its wrestlers to extreme physical brutality that it knew, or should have known, caused...latent conditions and long term irreversible bodily damage, including brain damage." News of the lawsuit filed Thursday was first reported by TMZ.

Russ McCullough (a.k.a., Big Russ McCullough), Ryan Sakoda and Matt Wiese (a.k.a., Luther Reigns) seek damages for what they charge is WWE's "egregious mistreatment of its wrestlers for its own benefit, as well as its concealment and denial of medical research and evidence concerning traumatic brain injuries suffered by WWE wrestlers," according to the court document. They are represented by Michael McShane and Jonas P. Mann of Audet & Partners LLP in San Francisco.

Fans hold up signs during the WWE Monday Night Raw show at the Thomas & Mack Center in Las Vegas. Ethan Miller/Getty

The class action was filed on behalf of all current and former wrestlers who claim to have suffered as a result of injuries sustained while working for the WWE. The plaintiffs allege that the WWE "disavowed, concealed, and prevented any medical care for these head injuries after they were sustained and to date."

The court document demands a jury trial, an injunction prohibiting WWE from continuing the alleged conduct and an order for medical monitoring, in addition to damages.

Jerry McDevitt of the law firm K&L Gates, who acts as WWE's outside counsel, calls the lawsuit "defective," "fraudulent" and "frivolous," and says it contains "fabricated claims" and "nonsense." He adds that this is not the first lawsuit to have been filed making virtually "identical allegations," pointing to a lawsuit filed last year in Oregon and one filed in January in Pennsylvania.

"All it takes is 50 bucks and a pen to file a lawsuit," he says. "Whether you can prove the things you allege is another."

The National Football League, the National Collegiate Athletic Association and other sports bodies have faced similar litigation concerning concussions suffered by players.