wrestling / News

Joey Mercury Files Lawsuit Against ROH Over Disregard For Talent Safety

March 6, 2021 | Posted by Joseph Lee
Joey Mercury Joey Matthews

It was reported last week that former ROH star Kelly Klein filed a lawsuit against the company and parent company Sinclair Broadcasting for discrimination, harassment and more. Now it seems Joey Mercury is doing the same, as Wrestlezone reports that Mercury (real name Adam Birch) is suing for a variety of claims including a disregard for talent safety.

Mercury, who worked as a trainer and producer for the company from May 2019 to October 2019, filed a lawsuit in Maryland against ROH and Sinclair, claiming that he was an employee and not an independent contractor. He said he was forced to leave due to ROH’s “lack of concern for the talent”, as well as an “increased workload” without “commensurate increase” in pay.

Mercury claims that he “devoted himself” to “improving the working conditions and salaries of the Talent”. He said that he took his concerns to ROH and Sinclair about the lack of safety protocols and medical supervision during matches. He tried to secure talent and get them “reasonable compensation.” He said that his work was “disregarded” by the defendants, which created an “an unsafe working environment and poor overall working conditions and morale.”

He goes on to note that he was paid less for his work than others in the same position for similar companiess.

The lawsuit states: “The general trend in Maryland has been to narrowly define ‘independent contractor’ and to protect employee access to unemployment insurance, workers’ compensation insurance, and other benefits. The Workplace Fraud Act, which became effective on October 1, 2009, makes it a violation to fail to properly classify workers as employees, and imposes penalties on those employers who knowingly misclassify their workers. LE § 9-402.1.

It also references the “Recovery of Benefits and Penalties for Fraud Act,” which became effective on October 1, 2016. That act” imposes significant civil penalties” for misclassification of workers as independent contractors, which he claims he was not. The defendants, Mercury claims, kept the right to control every aspect of his job and “overrode his independent judgment” about how to perform his duties. They also had the right to terminate his job but wouldn’t allow him to do the same during his first six months. It was noted that “Sinclair and ROH retained the right to terminate the relationship for cause and imposed a restrictive covenant. The intent and import of the Agreement was to make Birch an employee while misclassifying him as an independent contractor.”

The lawsuit goes onto note that if Mercury was misclassified, then that is a breach of contract. He wants the royalties he feels he is owed. He makes a final claim of “abusive discharge”, then made several more additional claims about how ROH didn’t provide safe working conditions for his workers. These include:

* A divide between Mercury’s actions to keep workers safe and get them reasonable compensation and his forced resignation from the company.
* He routinely gave his opinions to the defendants about safety and inadequacy of pay only to get ignored.
* “COMAR requires that the promoter shall be responsible for conducting wrestling contests in a safe, peaceable, and orderly fashion.”
* Sinclair and ROH didn’t conduct the matches in a safe manner, resulting in injuries to the wrestlers that were “not recognized and not addressed.”
* It notes that again, he was forced to resign as a result of all of this.

The lawsuit claims that Mercury is owed compensatory damages.

article topics :

Joey Mercury, Joseph Lee