There has been a major update in MLW‘s antitrust lawsuit against WWE.
Major League Wrestling filed a lawsuit against WWE in January 2022, alleging that the company tried to monopolize the industry and undermine the competition by preventing MLW from securing media distribution deals and trying to tamper with contracted talent. WWE denied the claims and filed a protective order to halt discovery.
As noted by Per Brandon Thurston of Wrestlenomics, Judge Edward J. Davila dismissed MLW’s initial complaint in a ruling on February 13.
The ruling noted that the Court dismissed MLW’s Sherman Act claim; “The Court finds that MLW has not included sufficient facts to plausibly allege a relevant
antitrust product market.” Additionally, the Court ruled that MLW did not adequately plead enough facts in order to provide an understanding of the relevant market; “These facts, as pled, are not sufficient to provide an understanding of the characteristics of the relevant market, including the existence or lack of substitutes.”
As a result, the ruling noted that the court consequently lacks subject matter jurisdiction over MLW’s remaining claims, according to California law for “intentional interference with contractual relations, intentional interference with prospective economic relations, and violations of the UCL.” The judge therefore ruled that MLW’s state law claims are dismissed. The court also ruled that additional allegations may “cure the deficiencies outlined above and” and in WWE’s motion, so MLW has been granted 21 days to submit a new claim.
Additionally, because the Court “resolves WWE’s Motion to Dismiss, it denies WWE’s Motion for Protective Order staying discovery during the pendency of the Motion to Dismiss”, and the Court denied WWE’s Motion for Status Conference Regarding Discovery Schedule.
Lastly, the Court ruled that WWE’s Motion to Dismiss is granted with leave to amend, and discovery in the suit is stayed until further Court Order.
The judge in MLW v. WWE antitrust lawsuit dismissed MLW’s initial complaint today, allowing MLW 21 days to submit an amended complaint. WWE has been seeking to avoid the case going to discovery.https://t.co/qh1IMLtNiX pic.twitter.com/bTpC0gOn9v
— Brandon Thurston (@BrandonThurston) February 14, 2023
Update: PWInsider reached out to MLW CEO and founder Court Bauer for a statement, which is as follows:
“Our legal team is already at work on amending the complaint. We have every intention to continue pursuing our case against WWE.”
WrestleZone will provide more information as it becomes available.