There have been new developments in the ongoing lawsuit between pro wrestling podcast pioneer Colt Cabana and former WWE Champion and mixed martial artist CM Punk, via PWInsider. Of course, this case is the fallout from the legal battle waged by WWE doctor, Chris Amann, against Cabana and Punk for Punk's appearance on Cabana's Art Of Wrestling podcast back in 2014.
Cabana's court filings initially alleged breach of contract and fraud on the part of Punk for seemingly promising to pay for Cabana's legal fees relating to the Amann civil case and later reneging. On March 15, 2019, the presiding judge, Daniel J. Kubasiak of the Illinois Circuit Court Of Cook County, dismissed the fraud claim against Punk as Cabana's legal team failed to establish the prima facie case of fraud under Illinois law.
With the lawsuit going forward as a breach of contract case, Punk filed his first official response on April 8, 2019. While Cabana's argument is that a legally enforceable contract exists despite it never being committed to a formal writing, Punk avers that covering Cabana's legal fees was nothing more than "a gesture of friendship and generosity" as unilateral gifting does not constitute a contract. Often, a contract is pretty cut-and-dry because there is one single document that constitutes the entire agreement; however, in this case, if there is a legally enforceable contract, it will be borne out of the various dealings and correspondences between the relevant parties.
In a small victory for Punk, Judge Kubasiak ruled that Punk's text message to Cabana indicating that Cabana would be "100% covered" for the Amann lawsuit lacked the definiteness and certainty "to constitute an offer that could support an enforceable contract". With that said, Judge Kubasiak decided that an email from Punk's legal counsel to Cabana "constituted an offer sufficient at this stage so as to establish that an enforceable contract exists between [Cabana] and [Punk]."
The email at issue reads: "[d]espite your unwillingness to contribute to your legal fees, I am still prepared to represent you, and [Punk] is prepared to have me represent you and cover your legal fees going forward, as long as there is no conflict between you and [Punk] that prevents me from fairly and ethically representing you. At this time, I don't believe that any such conflict exists..."
According to Punk's court filing, Cabana was informed on or around March 1, 2017 that a conflict did in fact arise and Punk's legal team could no longer represent Cabana. The court documents are silent as to what the conflict was that prevented Punk's lawyers from continuing on representing Cabana.
A case management conference is scheduled for May 21, 2019. The purpose of such a conference is to determine whether the lawsuit can be settled before going to trial.