Backstage News: Martha Hart's Lawsuit - What She Wants, More
Source: Wrestling Observer NewsletterAs you've read, Martha Hart has filed a 21-page lawsuit against WWE. One of the reasons is to try and get WWE to no longer use any footage of Owen Hart and have no connection between him and the company. This would make it impossible for WWE to induct Owen into the Hall of Fame.
Martha also wants royalties based on WWE DVD's released that have Owen matches on them. Martha says it was the marketing of the recent Hart Family DVD that caused her to take action. Martha found at least 37 WWE DVD's that featured Owen and she says the family never received royalty checks for them.
WWE's Jerry McDevitt told the Hartford Courant: "Martha Hart does not have some exclusive right to tell the story of her husband. He was a public figure...he was part of WWE."
This is actually the second time Martha tried to take action as she tried to get an injunction on the release of the Hart Family DVD in Canada back in March of this year. Martha's request for injunction was thrown out of court quickly and the DVD was released in Canada. Martha was ordered by the courts to pay WWE's legal costs. Martha found out about the DVD on March 20th. Five days later, her lawyers contacted WWE saying they had no permission to use the Owen Hart name or likeness. Martha says WWE ignored her letter.
Martha is worried about a connection between Owen and WWE that hurts The Owen Hart Foundation. Martha says a key component in the success of the Foundation is that his name was completely disassociated from WWE. Martha says WWE has a public image that is inconsistent with the Foundation. Martha claims that WWE has attempted to latch onto Owen's good name based on the good work of the Owen Hart Foundation. The lawsuit claims that Owen on a WWE DVD "has tainted the Foundation's image by creating the false impression that the estate has now abandoned its longstanding policy of disassociating itself from all matters WWE and McMahon-related. As a result, defendants have damaged and continue to damage the Foundation's reputation that it has unrelentingly built up for ten years."
Martha says the lawsuit has nothing to do with Linda McMahon running for political office. Martha says she has never spoken to any of Linda's opponents but did say voters should question her moral character. McDevitt said: "I don't think you'd see what happened today if Linda wasn't running for Senate."
It's also said that the new lawsuit against WWE and Bret Hart leaving is purely coincidental.
Martha is seeking an injunction to prevent WWE from using Owen's name or likeness in the future and are looking for damages in an amount to be determined in court with interest and lawyer costs. Martha's lawyers have demanded a complete accounting from WWE of sales and revenue from everything that has used the Owen Hart. name or likeness.