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WWE Lawsuit: Did The Hart Family Get Justice For Owen Hart's Death?

By Staff Reporter - Posted: 04/04/13 08:07AM UTC
Owen Hart

Owen Hart (Photo: Creative Commons)

Vince and Linda McMahon, owners of World Wrestling Entertainment (formerly World Wrestling Federation) have settled a lawsuit with Mary Hart, the widow of the late professional wrestler Owen Hart, as reported by the Washington Post

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Hart passed away from a tragic accident in 1999 during the WWE pay per view Over The Edge in Kansas City, Missouri. Hart, then 33, was supposed to be lowered to the ring from the top of the arena via a bungee apparatus, but the cable malfunctioned and released Hart prematurely, leading to his falling 50 feet and landing on a turnbuckle. 

Hart's widow sued the WWE, accusing the McMahons of using the names and images of Owen without the family's expressed consent, even after repeated requests to stop.

According to court documents, the McMahons used images of Hart in numerous commercials and publicity projects for the WWE.

A portion of the WWE lawsuit read: "Since Owen's death, the WWE and McMahons have sought every available opportunity to further exploit Owen's personality for their own commercial benefit. Their use of Owen's name and likeness draws attention to the WWE's ongoing violent and highly questionable theatrical activities that caused Owen's death." 

Hart's death was a major controversy in the pro wrestling industry, most notably because WWE decided to continue the show even after the accident. The next night on Raw, many wrestlers appeared noticeably distraught and teary-eyed. 

It's unknown what the settlement is between the two sides, but this incident, now 15 years old, has finally found closure. 

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