Jury finds in favor of CM Punk in defamation trial brought by WWE doctor

June 5, 2018

Chicago Tribune reporter Gregory Pratt reports that a jury has found in favor of CM Punk and Colt Cabana in the defamation trial brought by WWE physician Chris Amann.  Per Pratt, the jury deliberated a couple hours before rendering their verdict.

After the podcast, in February 2015, Dr. Amann had sued Punk and Cabana after an infamous podcast where Punk did not hold back in giving his opinion of the physician’s treatment of an injury he sustained.

The doctor brought the suit in Cook County Circuit Court (IL) alleging that Punk and Cabana had made defamatory statements regarding his professional duties as a medical doctor for the company.  Specifically, it was Punk that gave his opinion of the doctor during the podcast.

SI posted an excellent legal analysis of the potential issues of the lawsuit prior to the verdict.  It gave the overarching issue of whether podcasts could be subject to defamation claims.

In closing, the lawyers for the WWE physician requested $3,989,000 in damages which amounted to $1 for ever person who downloaded Cabana’s podcast episode plus additional punitive damages.

Payout Perspective:

Testimony during the trial about the lump on the back of CM Punk appeared to be the key issue.  It was what Punk complained about during the podcast and there was testimony by Punk’s wife (A.J. Lee), massage therapist and others that corroborated Punk’s claim.  Although he may have sensationalized the issue on the podcast, the jury ultimately determined that he was telling the truth and was giving his opinion. Truth is an ultimate defense to defamation.  Notably, SI indicated that Punk was appearing in character on the podcast, which I am not sure was the case and I’m not clear if that hinged on the analysis.  As we know with litigation, it is not over until its over.  There are post-trial motions and the possibility for appeal.

As for Punk, he has his second fight of his UFC career this Saturday in Chicago

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