The case stemming from the November 2014 “Art of Wrestling” interview that Colt Cabana (Scott Colton) conducted with CM Punk (Phil Brooks) has concluded with the jury ruling in favor of the two men.
Following closing arguments on Tuesday, the jury assigned to the civil trial deliberated for approximately two hours before rending their decision in favor of Punk and Cabana. No damages were awarded to either side.
This story traces back to 2014 when Cabana dropped the podcast in the early hours of Thanksgiving Day 2014 with a candid conversation with Punk regarding his departure from World Wrestling Entertainment earlier that year. Punk was unfiltered with his view of his handling within the company, the injuries and ailments he was suffering from and alleging negligence in how he was treated by the medical staff of the company. While not naming Dr. Christopher Amann by name, many fans came after Amann on Twitter and other forms as they targeted him for the claims made on the podcast.
In early 2015, Dr. Amann filed suit against the two for defamation regarding the comments made on the podcast.
The case dragged on for years and went to trial on Tuesday, May 29th with Dr. Amann, Punk, Cabana, Punk’s wife, AJ Lee, Glenn “Kane” Jacobs, trainer Larry Heck, former timekeeper Mark Yeaton, and Mark Carrano among those testifying in the trial.
One of the items focused upon was a lump that Punk spoke about on the podcast. At the time, he had stated the lump formed on his lower back and later needed to be squeezed with the fear it was a staph infection or MRSA. The WWE had even released video from Punk performing during this time to show there was no visible lump on his lower back. In the testimony, it was revealed that the actual location of the lump was on Punk’s butt and not the lower back to explain the confusion. There was enough testimony to provide proof the lump did exist, while also concluding that Punk did exaggerate on the podcast.
The following notes from Tuesday’s closing arguments are courtesy of Ross Berman at the WrestleZone site.
The closing arguments from the plaintiff’s stated that they believed Punk knowingly made false statements on the podcast and Cabana published the podcast knowing they were false statements. They argued that Dr. Amann only needs to prove emotional distress and damages as opposed to monetary damages, which was discussed in the trial regarding his position within the WWE and wrestlers not treating him any differently since the podcast. They sought $1 per stream of the podcast that would amount to $3,989,000 in damages.
The closing arguments from the defense stated that Punk and Cabana were telling stories on the podcast and stories are going to vary from person-to-person. They went through Punk’s many medical issues throughout 2013, argued the WWE’s medical reports could not be relied upon as they omitted several of Punk’s prescriptions and that Dr. Amann has brought on the negative feedback by vanity searching through social media. They added that Dr. Amann has denied needing therapy and sleeps eight hours per night.
Following the decision being read, Punk and wife AJ began crying. Punk will now get set for his second UFC fight on Saturday when he meets Mike Jackson at UFC 225 in Chicago at the United Center.
Colt Cabana spoke to Fightful.com shortly after the decision was read: