Renowned actor Dwayne Johnson is facing a legal battle after being accused of committing an “unlawful act.”
Dwayne Johnson, who got his full-length feature film beginning in Universal Pictures’ The Mummy Returns (2001) and the subsequent spinoff The Scorpion King (2002) after a successful career as a professional wrestler in the WWE, has become a household name.
As one of the most popular actors in Hollywood, The Rock has starred in countless blockbusters including films like Gridiron Gang (2006), Get Smart (2008), the Fast and the Furiousfranchise, The Gameplan (2007), Race to Witch Mountain (2009), San Andreas (2015), Bay Watch(2017), Jumanji: Welcome To The Jungle (2017), Central Intelligence (2016), Rampage (2018), and, most recently, Disney’s Jungle Cruise (2021), and Netflix’s Red Notice (2021).
However, it seems he is facing a legal battle over the acquisition of XFL from former WWE boss Vince McMahon.
First reported by PWInsider, a lawsuit filed by David Adrian Smith names Vince McMahon, WWE, Dwayne The Rock Johnson, Dani Garcia, ESPN, Dick Ebersol, WWE Chief Financial Officer Frank Riddick, Carol Riddick, and more. It was filed July 20th in the United States District Court for the North District of Texas and alleges that “confidential trade secrets have been passed around and used by those named in the lawsuit, and he is seeking damages and court costs.”
Smith alleges that in his first email to Carol, he said “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 goes on to say that he had back and forth emails with Carol Riddick where she asked “several rounds of questions”, and Smith provided answers and “further analysis of the opportunity including further trade secret information.”
Smith then states that 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 alleges that the Riddicks disclosed the information and trade secrets, and then alleges that the information was brought to Vince McMahon and then shared with former NBC Executive Dick Ebersol, his son Charlie, and ESPN, and that information would be used in the production of ESPN’s 30 For 30 documentary This Was The XFL.
Smith is also alleging that when WWE sold the rights of the original XFL to Alpha Entertainment, it was due to McMahon and Riddick being involved and knowing of Smith’s trade secrets, and he states Ebersol launched the AAF partly due to the knowledge. When Alpha Entreatment filed for bankruptcy and the XFL was bought by Dwayne Johnson, Dani Garcia, and the remaining owners of the XFL, Smith alleges those trade secrets were also disclosed to the new ownership without his permission.
The U.S. Economic Espionage Act of 1996, which became effective on January 1, 1997, makes theft or misappropriation of trade secrets a federal crime.
The lawsuit is not seeking criminal charges but has a list requesting the following:
- 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
- Anything else the court deems appropriate
Johnson’s newest film, Black Adam, is set to hit theaters later this year. He can also be heard in his hit NBC television series Young Rock, which depicts his life growing up, including his relationship with his father Rocky Johnson.
What do you think of this lawsuit? Let us know in the comments.