Conn. suit vs. ex-WWE exec Linda McMahon dismissed

NEW HAVEN, Conn. (AP) — A federal judge has dismissed a lawsuit by the widow of a World Wrestling Entertainment performer against the company’s former chief executive Linda McMahon, who’s running for the U.S. Senate.

Martha Hart sued WWE and McMahon in 2010 during her first run for the Senate, which the Republican lost to Democrat Richard Blumenthal. Hart said the company used the image of her late husband, Owen Hart, in videos and other materials without her permission and despite her objections.

Owen Hart died in a televised stunt in 1999, when he fell from an apparatus while being lowered into the wrestling ring from the ceiling of Kemper Arena in Kansas City, Mo. He was 33 years old.

Judge Stefan Underhill last week dismissed the claims against McMahon and her husband, Vince McMahon, and most claims against WWE. He said the company, which is based in Stamford and has formally changed its name from World Wrestling Entertainment to WWE, retained a right to Owen Hart’s wrestling career.

The judge denied the company’s motion to dismiss a claim related to personal family photos but said there was no evidence Linda McMahon knew about the photos.

The judge also allowed Martha Hart’s claim for unpaid royalties against WWE to proceed.

WWE attorney Jerry McDevitt, who called the lawsuit a “political stunt” in 2010, said he was pleased with the ruling.

A message left Wednesday with Hart’s attorney wasn’t immediately returned.

Owen Hart’s parents are Helen and Stu Hart, a pioneer of professional wrestling in Western Canada.

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