According to PWInsider, A lawsuit against Vince McMahon, World Wrestling Entertainment, Dani Garcia, ESPN, Dwayne Johnson (The Rock), Dick Ebersol, WWE Chief Financial Officer Frank Riddick, Riddick’s wife Carol and many others were filed on July 20 before the United States District Court for the Northern District of Texas by David Adrian Smith related to the XFL football league.
Smith alleges in the lawsuit that on May 10, 2016 he “disclosed confidential trade secret information” via email to Carol Riddick including “market analysis, opportunity analysis, strategic analysis and other business information regarding a concept for a minor league or developmental league spring football league.” Smith alleges that in his first email to Carol, he told her “Please feel free to share with Mr. Riddick but ya’ll keep it under your hats until we have a chance to discuss how to proceed or that it has not merit.”
Smith reveals that he had a back and forth series of emails with Carol Riddick with her asking “several rounds of questions” and Smith providing answers and “further analysis of the opportunity including further trade secret information.” Smith stated that the correspondence stopped after he received no responses from Frank Riddick or Vince McMahon “with feedback on what Defendant #1 [World Wrestling Entertainment] learned from their previous failed venture.”
Smith is alleging that The Riddicks disclosed the information and trade secrets.
Smith also alleges the information was brought to Vince McMahon, who then shared it with former NBC executive Dick Ebersol and his son Charlie as well as ESPN and that the “trade secret information” was used in the production of the ESPN 30 For 30 documentary This Was The XFL, a year after Smith and Carol Riddick were exchanging emails, based on the timeline.
Smith is alleging that since WWE sold the rights and trademarks of the original XFL over to McMahon’s Alpha Entertainment, it was due to members of the WWE Board (McMahon and Riddick) being involved as they knew of Smith’s “trade secrets” and that Ebersol launched the AAF as well in part due to his knowledge of the trade secrets Smith possessed.
Smith is also alleging that when Alpha Entertainment filed for bankruptcy and the XFL was purchased by Dwayne Johnson, Dani Garcia, and the remainder of the current owners of the XFL, his trade secrets were “disclosed / conveyed to and acquired / received” to the new ownership without Smith’s authorization.
Smith is requesting, among other things, a declaration that the defendants’ actions as alleged are unlawful, an injunction to prevent any actual or threatened misappropriation of his trade secrets, an injunction to prevent the defendants from engaging in unlawful acts, an order from the court conditioning that future usage of his trade secrets result in royalty payments, an award from damages brought by the unjust enrichment of the defendants for using his trade secrets, award of damages from the misappropriation of his trade secrets (with the figures estimated at greater than $15 million), court costs, pre and post-judgment interest adjusted for inflation and anything else the court deems appropriate.
McMahon officially suspended XFL operations on April 10, 2020, laying off all employees. As noted in the complaint, Luck was fired on April 9. The XFL filed for bankruptcy on April 13. A group led by Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson purchased the XFL in August 2020. The league is set to resume activities and operations in February 2023.