TNA News TNA/WWE News: Details on TNA suing WWE & former TNA employee, Flair central figure in allegations, what's next in court
May 25, 2012 - 12:03:49 AM
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By James Caldwell, PWTorch assistant editor
The current top story on the Nashville City Newspaper website is TNA filing lawsuit against WWE and former TNA employee Brian Wittenstein in Nashville court this week. WWE's lead attorney, Jerry McDevitt, also responded to the story, saying WWE was surprised by the suit. The following is a break down of the story reported by the paper and current legal situation, which is filed in the public records at NashvilleChanceryInfo.org .
-- TNA alleges that Wittenstein, a former TNA talent relations employee, took "confidential trade secrets" to WWE and helped WWE gain an "unfair" competitive advantage in negotiating contracts with TNA talent.
“This wrongful disclosure and misappropriation allows WWE to effectively price TNA out of the market and cause irreparable harm to TNA’s business and profitability,” TNA stated in the suit. “WWE now knows the confidential details of TNA’s business affairs including its marketing and business strategy and analysis, which leaves TNA vulnerable to WWE’s unfair position in the market.”
-- The timeline of recent events begins on May 7. According to the suit, a WWE official notified TNA that Wittenstein was using confidential TNA information to benefit WWE. TNA alleges that WWE waited three weeks before notifying TNA. WWE then fired Wittenstein after learning of Wittenstein's breach.
Ric Flair is a central figure in the timeline and lawsuit. TNA says two days after Wittenstein was fired, Flair attempted to terminate his TNA contract. TNA said in the suit they believe Flair is heading back to WWE, which makes the timing "suspect."
TNA alleged in the suit, “In order to injure TNA and gain a competitive advantage, WWE intentionally interfered with TNA’s contractual relationship with Ric Flair and maliciously used the trade secrets and confidential information provided by Wittenstein to approach Ric Flair."
-- WWE lead attorney Jerry McDevitt responded to the suit: "Our reaction is that no good deed ever goes unpunished. What the WWE did here is what you would hope any company would do in these circumstances it found itself in.”
-- After a court chancellor signed a temporary restraining order Thursday, WWE and Wittenstein are now required to return and not destroy confidential information that TNA alleges Wittenstein used to benefit WWE and harm TNA.
An injunction hearing is set for June 11. The exact allegations filed by TNA in the suit include "interference with existing contracts" (against WWE), breach of duty of loyalty (against Wittenstein), conversion, breach of contract, civil conspiracy, unfair competition, and violation of the Tennessee Uniform Trade Secrets Act.
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