Bret screwed Vince. The circle is complete, the book is closed.
Oh, you didn't know?
Widow of Deceased Professional Wrestler Owen Hart Files Lawsuit Against World Wrestling Entertainment, Vince McMahon & Linda McMahon
WWE continues to use Owen Hart's Name and Image for Marketing more than 11 Years After he Was Killed in a WWE-sponsored Stunt; In Violation of Contract and Contrary to Family's Wishes
HARTFORD, Conn., June 22 /PRNewswire/ -- Martha Hart, the widow of the late Owen Hart, a professional wrestler who was killed in a May 1999 stunt orchestrated by World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE) today filed suit in the U.S. District Court here against WWE, Vince McMahon (current chairman and CEO) and Linda McMahon (CEO until 2009). The lawsuit alleges the WWE and the McMahons used Owen Hart's name and likeness without right in dozens of commercial videos and other materials, violated a contract restricting the use of Owen Hart's name, likeness and wrestling footage, and disregarded Martha Hart's wishes against further association of her late husband's name with WWE following his death. (Mrs. Hart and WWE settled a wrongful death lawsuit in 2000. Mrs. Hart established the Owen Hart Foundation later that year.)
"In the eleven years since Owen's tragic and avoidable death, I have worked tirelessly to disassociate Owen's name and likeness from anything related to WWE in order to protect our children from any reminder of the circumstances surrounding their father's death, and to avoid any misplaced perception that I endorse WWE," said Martha Hart in a statement.
"Unfortunately, even though WWE, Vince McMahon and Linda McMahon were and are well aware of my wishes and desire to shield my children from WWE and its activities, I was shocked to learn earlier this year that they have been using Owen's name and likeness in videos, websites, television programs and print materials. Given this callous, insensitive and irresponsible behavior, one must question the moral character of Vince and Linda McMahon and the manner in which they conduct their business."
According to the lawsuit filed today before the U.S. District Court in Hartford,
"Since Owen's death, the WWE and McMahons have sought every available opportunity to further exploit Owen's personality for their own commercial benefit. Their use of Owen's name and likeness draws attention to the WWE's ongoing violent and highly questionable theatrical activities that caused Owen's death. Defendants' use of Owen's name and likeness is also in direct disregard of Martha's and her children's objections...The WWE's wrongful use of Owen's name and likeness, over Martha's continuing objection to any association with defendants and in the absence of any legal right of use, creates the wrongful impression that Martha and the Estate now support, approve or condone the video (which they do not)."
The lawsuit seeks to enjoin the WWE from further use of Owen Hart's name and likeness, and seeks unpaid royalties as well as damages for breach of contract, copyright infringement, unjust enrichment, accounting and unfair and deceptive trade practices.
Mrs. Hart is represented by the law firm Nixon Peabody LLP.
I don't see the lawsuit having anything to do with Bret being "fired" as the GM either. Owen's wife is overacting somewhat with the whole lawsuit in my opinion.
I know her and the WWE came to an agreement when Owen passed away but the WWE are not using Owen's image for their advantage. I know one of the biggest selling points of this lawsuit is the new Hart Family DVD that just came out, but what's wrong with showing the fans on how good Owen was?
Storyline firings in absentia are a common quick fix in the old bloody soap opera. It's only speculation, of course, but the suit and Bret's sudden departure seem like coincidental timing, which I don't believe exists in High-Priced Lawyer Land. Bret may even be slated to testify; whose side would he be on, and how would it be if he were working for Vince at the time?
Let's forget kayfabe entirely and think for just a second about Bret walking away mid-arc and leaving Vince twisting in the wind. Would that not be absolutely legendary?
Do you believe it would bother Vince if he lost Bret like this?
Personally, I don't believe the lawsuit as anything to do with this. I know it's coincidental that this lawsuit comes out and Bret gets "fired" but I think Bret gave the okay on the new DVD. He probably gave Vince a lot of video footage actually.
Now I don't know the whole story about the lawsuit, I personally believe it's mostly due to the DVD, but I think Bret would take Vince's side, but that's just me.