Sanctions and Legal Fees Recommended for Plaintiffs’ Attorney in WWE Suit

Mar 30, 2018

By Joseph M. Hanna, of Goldberg Segalla
On Feb. 22, 2018, a federal judge ruled on a motion for sanctions filed by defendant World Wrestling Entertainment Inc. (WWE), against Konstantine Kyros, the attorney representing former WWE wrestlers, plaintiffs Evan Singleton and Vito LoGrasso, in their concussion suit. WWE’s motion sought sanctions against Kyros for failing to sufficiently respond to WWE’s interrogatories.
The recommended ruling stated that plaintiffs’ counsel was served with interrogatories on Jan. 27, 2016, and that when the parties met on March 7, 2016, the responses were still found to be inadequate. WWE filed a motion to compel immediately following the parties’ discussion. The motion was granted in part, and plaintiffs responded with supplemental responses. One interrogatory sought information regarding LoGrasso’s injury symptoms, the response to which was found to be vague and lacking, despite that the granted motion to compel required counsel to revisit and amend the response. WWE found the responses to be insufficient, and argued that they “continued to be either incomplete, unchanged in any material way, or evasive.” This prompted WWE’s motion for sanctions.
The ruling on the motion for sanctions stated that “[a]fter reviewing the supplemental interrogatory responses and hearing the explanations from plaintiff’s counsel for insufficiencies, the Court is unimpressed.” The ruling cites that the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure authorize a court to impose sanctions “up to and including dismissal of the action,” the reasoning behind it being to “ensure that a party will not benefit from its own failure to comply.” It proceeded to note that the court did not find the insufficiencies to have met the threshold for dismissal altogether. As punishment for the failure of Kyros to respond adequately to interrogatories, rather than dismissal, the ruling recommended that he pay all legal fees associated with the costs of the sanctions motion.
Despite the sting of sanctions and legal fees, both appear reasonable given the circumstances, and certainly less severe than dismissal of the entire suit. The ruling offered that the “Court hopes that this, a lesser sanction than dismissal, will be sufficient to get this litigation moving in a reasonable manner.”