wrestling / News

Anthem Denied Dismissal Of Jeff Jarrett’s Lawsuit, Trial Date Set, Jury Will Decide Whether Wrestling is Sport or Entertainment

June 5, 2020 | Posted by Jeremy Thomas
Jeff Jarrett

Jeff Jarrett’s lawsuit against Anthem and Impact Wrestling lawsuit is set to go to trial at the end of this month after attempts to settle it failed. As previously reported, Jarrett is suing Anthem over his claim that the company used his GWF Amped tapes without his permission and then would not return the masters, which were later discovered to have been deleted by Anthem. He also has alleged they used his name and image without their permission.

According to PWInsider, the judge in the case denied Anthem’s last attempt at a summary judgment on May 27th, noting that this lawsuit was the second time in “less than a year” that the US District Court was asked to handle issues related to the “the failed merger” between Impact and GFW. The judge declined to dismiss the case as Anthem asked, noting that it had “tentatively reached the conclusion that summary judgment would be inappropriate because the case would likely turn on the jury’s assessment of the credibility of Ed Nordholm, Anthem Wrestling’s President, and Jeffrey Jarrett, a longtime professional wrestler and the founder of GFE.”

The judge added that in regard to a claim by Anthem that the usage of the Amped material was done “via an implied license given by Jeff Jarrett” as the CCO of Impact, there isn’t a precise formula on establishing implied license and that the jury could conclude Anthem, has one, but they could also find that the implied license ultimately was based on Impact and GFW having a successful merger which didn’t happen after Jarrett was fired. He also said a jury could find that Anthem Wrestling “exceeded” the scope of an implied license, and pointed out that Scott D’Amore suggested in which the judge called a “now a cringe-worthy email” that Amped should be aired after Jarrett was fired to fill PPV slots, saying that Jarrett might “sue if he has the balls” to do so and suggesting alternatives if Anthem Wrestling did not “want a legal battle.”

Regarding Jarrett’s trademark on his own name and image, the judge noted that while Impact’s Ed Nordholm has said that the tradmark for Jarrett has been in “continuous use” and that there are no plans to abandon it, “under the statute use or intent to use a mark must be “bona fide” and “not made merely to reserve a right in a mark.”

In an interesting note, the judge said that previous legal cases have led to debate on whether pro wrestling is “sport” or “entertainment” and that the jury will have to decide which, in regard to the issues in this case, wrestling is. Anthem has argued that sports broadcasts are exempt from the Tennesee Personal Rightsa Protection Act, which Jarrett claims that they violated by using the GFW Amped footage.

The judge ultimately said, “the Court has fully considered all of the arguments raised and, therefore, Anthem Wrestling need not waste any time or effort contemplating a motion to reconsider. In preparing for the trial that begins on June 30, 2020.” He added that the parties should “reconsider their respective positions on settlement because the summary judgment record suggests to the Court that either party could be pinned to a count of three.”