Huge Extensive Update - Martha Hart Vs. WWE Lawsuit
* In response to Martha Hart's Right of Publicity Claim and Invasion of Privacy Claim, WWE stated they fail as a "Matter of Law." WWE said that Owen Hart, when he worked for the company, "gave consent" to be publicized as a performer when he signed his WWE contract and those rights continue past the Termination of that contract. "Once Owen consented to having his performances recorded and to WWE s ownership of the copyrighted works, no further consent is required for WWE to exploit its copyrights." WWE noted that Federal Law would support them in this claim and that there were no limits to the consent granted by Owen for future works.
WWE noted, "Accordingly, the publicity and privacy counts fail for the additional reason that the contract grants WWE the unqualified right to use New Intellectual Property in any commercial manner."
WWE also noted that the use of Owen Hart's name and likeness would not be actionable under current Connecticut Law.
* In regard to Hart's claim that WWE needs to provide an accounting of money owed to the Owen Hart Estate, WWE stated that Hart was pointing to a point in Owen's contract that wouldn't be relevant to such a thing and that she "fails to allege any facts that would entitle her to the remedy of an accounting." and that she has not alleged there is a "fiduciary relationship between her and WWE" or any "allegation of fraud."
"Lacking any such grounds, Plaintiff attempts to convert Section 7.12(a) of the [Owen Haer] contract into a legal basis for the count. Plainly, that section sets for a procedure for auditing royalty payments and statements tendered to the WWE performer. The Amended Complaint admits and alleges that no such payments have been made or statements sent to the Estate. On its face, Section 7.12(a) is not applicable to a thirteen-year-old claim where no payments were made or statements rendered."
* Hart's complaint that WWE violated the Connecticut Unfair Trade Practices Act: WWE again pointed out that Martha Hart did not own the exclusive rights to tell Owen Hart's life story. "As a matter of law, therefore, WWE could not have misappropriated rights to Owen s life story since Plaintiff never owned such rights in the first place." For the same reasons, WWE stated it could not have misappropriated Owen Hart's Intellectual Properties.
Hart also claimed that by violating the CUTPA by "breaching a contract." WWE responded, "Here, Plaintiff alleges two contract counts. The first is that WWE lacked contractual authority to use Owen s name and likeness after his death and has been previously addressed. The second count alleges that WWE breached the contract by not paying the Estate royalties when Owen s name and likeness were used. Under Connecticut law, it is well settled that a simple contract breach is not sufficient to establish a violation of CUTPA."
So, basically, WWE is claiming that Hart doesn't have the rights, after a decade and following a Settlement that released them of all issues, to bring these claims to light and that based on the original Settlement, Federal Law and in some instances, Connecticut Law, the suit should be dismissed.