World Wrestling Entertainment’s federal lawsuit against Malibu, California-based Jakks Pacific has been dismissed by a US Federal Court.
The judge threw out the anti-trust and RICO claims on multiple grounds, including that the claims exceeded the statute of limitations, and that no RICO injury was ever established.
Jack Friedman, chairman and CEO of Jakks, called the decision a ‘legal victory’ and says the company awaits the court’s comprehensive opinion tomorrow on pending state law claims made by the WWE.
The trouble started in October 2004, when the WWE filed suit against Jakks, its three principals (chairman and CEO Jack Friedman, president and COO Stephen Berman and CFO and executive VP Joel Bennett), video gameco THQ, the Jakks/THQ joint-venture, WWE’s former licensing exec James Bell and agent Stanley Shenker. At the heart of the suit was the WWE’s allegation that Jakks, via its three principals, paid US$100,000 in bribes to Bell (who was WWE’s senior VP of licensing at the time) and WWE licensing agent Shenker (who was also repping Jakks) to secure the WWE video game license.