WWE Lawsuit: Owen Hart’s Widow Reaches Settlement With Company Over Use Of Husband’s Name, Likeness [REPORT]
World Wrestling Entertainment tragically lost one of its most popular athletes -- Owen Hart -- in 1999 when a stunt went terribly wrong. Owen Hart, who was 34 at the time, was meant to descend into the ring at Kansas City's Kemper Arena from the rafters. The WWE superstar was using a quick-release harness that was accidentally triggered as he began to descend from the top of the arena. Owen Hart fell 50 feet to his death. For years, his widow Martha Hart fought the WWE for royalties surrounding the use of Owen Hart's image. Finally, after years of battling in and out of court, the Martha Hart has settled the WWE lawsuit.
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The WWE and Martha Hart announced a settlement on Wednesday evening according to the Washington Post. The settlement has made quietly and the details have not be released to the public.
Although Owen Hart died tragically in 1999, his widowed wife Martha Hart didn't sue the company until June 2010. Martha Hart alleged that the WWE didn't pay royalty payments owed to Owen Hart's estate. She also claimed that the WWE was violating a contract ristrciting the use of his name and likeness.
The WWE has frequently used Owen Hart's image, though it is a touchy subject any time it's mentioned or acknowledged by the company. The DVDs "The True Story of Wrestlemania" and "Hart & Soul: The Hart Family Anthology" are among many retrospective DVDs that feature the WWE superstar. WWE DVD News reported in 2011 that the video retrospectives were removed from Silversion UK's website, probably because of the lawsuit.
Despite settling the WWE lawsuit, Martha Hart remains a vigilant critic of the WWE. Here's what she said in a statement according to the website MarthaHartSuesWWE.com, which could not be verified at the time of publication. Here's what the statement says:
"This is a mixed ruling. I am heartened that Judge Underhill ruled in our favor on some elements of our claim, but at the same time we believe some of his other findings are flawed, and we are considering what actions to take next. This ruling doesn't change the fact that Vince and Linda McMahon control an enterprise that puts profit and exploitation ahead of decency, values and respect."
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