Judge Orders Arbitration In Lawsuit Between WWE & Fan Suing Over Hearing Loss

Earlier this year, Marvin Jackson sued WWE, alleging that he suffered permanent hearing loss as a result of being seated too close to the loud pyrotechnic bangs during WrestleMania 38, with WWE quickly moving to get the case sent to arbitration based on the waiver agreed to at the point of sale for tickets. Jackson, however, argued that he shouldn't be bound by that waiver because he never bought the tickets or even held the digital files containing them; his nephew did. On Tuesday, though, as first reported by Wrestlenomics, U.S. District Judge Mark T. Pittman ruled in WWE's favor, sending the case to a private arbitrator to rule on and away from the public court system.

"The only real question for the Court is whether [Jackson's nephew, Ashton] Mott's consent to the Arbitration Agreement can bind Jackson, even though Jackson had no notice of the Arbitration Agreement, but he used the ticket purchased by Mott to attend WrestleMania," Pittman wrote. "Based on long-standing and highly analogous law, the answer is a resounding 'Yes!'" Pittman cited various similar cases involving cruise ships over who exactly is bound by a ticket's arbitration agreement if one person bought and/or held tickets for others. In granting WWE's motion to compel arbitration, Pittman dismissed Jackson's lawsuit with prejudice, meaning he cannot refile it.

Before Jackson's lawsuit, the most well-known pyrotechnic mishap at a WWE event that directly impacted fans would be the issues during The Undertaker's post-main event celebration at WrestleMania 24, with the Orlando Sentinel reporting at the time that rockets struck spectators. These days, the loud bangs that injured Jackson are associated more closely with WWE, as AEW has limited their use of loud pyro as part of efforts with the non-profit KultureCity to make events inclusive to those with sensory issues.