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 Posted: Tue Apr 15th, 2008 04:51 pm
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bpickering
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Judge Janie S. Mayeron ordered AWA Superstars President Dale Gagner to pay World Wrestling Entertainment $3,000 in court costs stemming from Gagne failing to respond to WWE lawyers' attempts to garner documents as part of the discovery phase of their lawsuit on 4/11.

World Wrestling Entertainment is currently suing Gagner's AWA Superstars company, claiming copyright infringement on the American Wrestling Association name, which they purchased from Verne Gagne.   They had asked for a judgment of default that would cover their attorney's fees in regard to the discovery period and that Gagner be barred from using any documentation he fails to provide during discovery (as is required by law) during the actual trial, should the case move into the trial stage.

Judge Mayeron sided with WWE after Gagner ignored repeated attempts by the court to bring him in line.  He was ordered to pay $3,000 and set up a payment plan of $50 a month, claiming he was unable to afford any greater number.  WWE had attempted to receive a reimbursement of $5,761.04.

WWE was upset about Gagner dragging his feet with them during the discovery process of the lawsuit, including requests about the scope of Gagner's use of the AWA trademarks, which have (as of this writing) still gone unanswered.  WWE noted in their motion that Gagner claimed he did not receive the requests, despite the fact WWE sent them the same physical address that was used to serve him with the notice of the lawsuit and also received confirmation that a faxed copy was received to Gagner's fax line. 

WWE was specifically seeking background information on Gagner's use of the AWA trademarks, the associated Internet sites he had used with those trademarks, any money Gagner made using the AWA name, the lawsuit brought against him previously by the Minneapolis Boxing & Wrestling Club (parent company of Verne's company) and Gagne forming the AWA Wrestling Entertainment corporation.

WWE filed their lawsuit in April 2007, alleging, among other charges, that Gagner's "AWA Wrestling Entertainment" misrepresents itself as the successor to Verne Gagne's promotion, which shut down operations in 1990.  The complaint singled out Gagner, listed as the owner of "AWA Wrestling Entertainment" as a "serial offender", noting that in April 1990, The Minneapolis Boxing & Wrestling Club (which then owned the AWA trademarks) filed a similar claim against Gagner. The courts ruled against Gagner in June 1990, enjoining he and his company from creating any claims that represented him as part of the original AWA promotion. WWE also alleges that Gagner has gone as far as to change the spelling of his name professionally to "Gagne" in an attempt to play off Verne Gagne's name when there is no relation between the two.

WWE's suit alleges that despite not having rights to the AWA name and trademark, Gagner is, "selling merchandise, including hats and t-shirts, featuring the AWA marks; promoting wrestling activities, performances, and events using the AWA marks; presenting information relating to the historical AWA wrestling promotion; and displaying images on its website of wrestlers formerly associated with the AWA promotion." WWE alleges that Gagner's "clear intent" is to "misrepresent that the Defendants are the successors to and/or affiliated with the AWA wrestling promotion. At no time have Defendants, individually or collectively, been affiliated with WWE or the AWA wrestling promotion."

WWE claimed that by Gagner's use of the AWA trademark and letters, the company has been "irreparably harmed." noting the company "has lost its exclusive right and ability to control and/or determine the manner, appearance, timing, location, content and image of the AWA Marks, in which WWE has invested considerable resources to acquire, develop, and promote" while noting that Gagner's company has "unlawfully and unjustly" been able to benefit from properties that World Wrestling Entertainment legally owns.

WWE is seeking a permanent injunction against Gagner to prevent him and his company from using the AWA trademarks and initials in the future, an injunction preventing him from doing so in a similar manner in the future, an injunction shutting down Gagner's websites followed by the domains being transferred to WWE's ownership, financial damages and World Wrestling Entertainment's legal costs.

When contacted in regard to the lawsuit by PWInsider.com in April 2007, Gagner responded:

Thank you for the e-mail. Our office wasn't served with the lawsuit until just an hour or so ago. Obviously, it would be pre-mature for me to offer any official comment or legal strategy upon the advise of my attorney, since we haven't had time to review the case in detail. I can say however that AWA Wrestling Entertainment, Inc. registered the AWA name and use in 1996. We've promoted the brand for over 10 years. WWE is attempting to re-create history through the legal system, a tactic we all know too well. Their first attempt is to discredit me and my contributions to this business. The injunction they claim that was filed against me by Minneapolis Boxing and Wrestling Club, Inc. in 1990 wasn't recognized after Verne's company went bankrupt in 1991. Their claim against my name is laughable. I've never claimed a relationship to Verne Gagne other than that which is true. I worked for him in the late 1980's and am indeed a distant relative. Research of our family lineage proves that.

Clearly, Vince McMahan and WWE want to monopolize the professional wrestling business. They also want to ensure their performers, under exclusive contract, are considered "independent contractors" by deceiving the IRS. I've been in the business for over 20 years and finally will have a public platform to expose Vince McMahon. He's about to spend a lot of money to reveal some skeletons in his closet. My course of action isn't directed out of spite. It's simply to protect my name and reputation along with the AWA, a brand I have passionately re-built, along with a team of incredible promoters, since 1996.

Dale R. Gagne


Since the lawsuit has been filed a number of AWA "members", including Japan's ZERO-ONE, have pulled out of the organization, which Gagner has classified as the AWA not "renewing" their memberships.



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 Posted: Tue Apr 15th, 2008 09:18 pm
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HBF



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So, Dale dropped the "r" at the end of his last name to appear as the last of the Gagne's? 



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 Posted: Tue Apr 15th, 2008 09:36 pm
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thunderbolt
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"He was ordered to pay $3,000 and set up a payment plan of $50 a month, claiming he was unable to afford any greater number."



Must be conserving his resources to pay for those high priced lawyers who will expose the WWE.



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 Posted: Tue Apr 15th, 2008 09:38 pm
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BigJ



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This is news to you HBF?  He's been doing that for years.

As one of the resident AWA nuts but the only one who feels this way, I'll say that while it's possible Gagner has been fibbing all along about buying the rights to the AWA logo and name for use in promoting wrestling out of bankruptcy court back in the 90's - I don't think it's likely.

If he was lying all this time, where were the Gagnes to stop him and why did it take WWE so long?

That being said, for awhile he was apparently falsely promoting guys for his shows, but in recent years that stopped and I thought, personally, that what he was doing with the AWA name for the last few years was positive.

If Gagner didnt own the logo why did WWE create a new version and exclusively use that?

One has to admit it's pretty plausible that WWE, knowing Gagner's situation, would sue on false pretenses just to bankrupt the guy and put him out of business so they could then wind up with the rights in full to "the AWA."

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 Posted: Tue Apr 15th, 2008 09:57 pm
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thunderbolt
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A few years ago a discussion on KM caused me to pull the docket on Verne's personal bankurptcy, which was filed in July, 1993 and included controlled entities named Minnetonka Partnership and Squared Circle Ventures.  Sale of an asset during bankurptcy requires court approval, and the docket doesn't reflect any assets sold under court supervision.  Now it could be that the bankurptcy was closed and the AWA logo and name was retained by Verne and sold after, but I am not clear on when Gagner claimed he acquired his 'rights' and have never seen an explanation other than Gagner buying them 'out of bankruptcy'.  The bankruptcy was closed on June 29, 1998, and if Gagner was doing business before then,  which seems certain given the reference to 1990 litigation over the same subject, the 'bought out of bankruptcy' story doesn't hold water.

As I understood it then, the bankruptcy was more motivated by Verne's efforts to salvage some real estate deals which went bad. 



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 Posted: Wed Apr 16th, 2008 12:53 am
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HBF



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To be honest BigJ, I never really gave a shit.  I just find it funny that he would do that. 



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 Posted: Wed Apr 16th, 2008 02:35 am
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The current AWA is a fucking sham and I honestly hope it gets shut down. There is an AWA member that does shows in my area at a fucking bowling area. Yeah....pathetic. Draws maybe 30-40 people tops. They are trying to tie into to the AWA past and it is soooo pathetic.



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 Posted: Wed Apr 16th, 2008 02:38 am
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Its no less pathetic than NWA TNA, the NWA or the WWE Great American Bash or WWE Starcade, etc etc etc.  Get in your thick skulls that its all a fake show put on by carnival folk.  This is not a major world religion.  Its showbusiness.



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 Posted: Wed Apr 16th, 2008 04:21 am
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beejmi
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I can't believe it took this long for the WWE to go after him.

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 Posted: Wed Apr 16th, 2008 04:44 am
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Vintage Wrestling wrote: The current AWA is a fucking sham and I honestly hope it gets shut down. There is an AWA member that does shows in my area at a fucking bowling area. Yeah....pathetic. Draws maybe 30-40 people tops. They are trying to tie into to the AWA past and it is soooo pathetic.


Heh, the real AWA wasn't that much better.



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 Posted: Wed Apr 16th, 2008 06:29 am
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sek69 wrote: Vintage Wrestling wrote: The current AWA is a fucking sham and I honestly hope it gets shut down. There is an AWA member that does shows in my area at a fucking bowling area. Yeah....pathetic. Draws maybe 30-40 people tops. They are trying to tie into to the AWA past and it is soooo pathetic.


Heh, the real AWA wasn't that much better.
The old AWA, even in it's dying days, was incredibly better than the crap they try to pass off as the AWA now. Gagner tries to pass his version of the AWA off as the real deal, when in fact, it is a bunch of no name promoters running rinky dink venues drawing a handfull of people at a time.

I've been to a bunch of local "AWA" shows here in town, and you have to see it to believe it. It is fucking horrendous. They bring in a big name once in a while, hoping they will draw. Valentine and Honky have been here and they drew maybe 5 more people. Corino came in as the AWA champion and hardly anyone showed. I think they drew 15-20 people. And this is with massive advertising in the area. About a year ago, King Kong Bundy was booked at the show. The day before, he had a "meet and greet" at Moe's Southwest Grille. A ton of people showed up, including me and the wife, and Bundy no-showed. Guess what? AWA Brew City had to give out vouchers for a free meal to every person that showed up. Then the next day, they have the show. Bundy no-shows. They then give out free passes to the next event.  There wasn't a show for 3 months because of all the money they lost.

After the shows, the "promoter" Frankie DeFalco goes to the local bar called Sharkey's and pumps up his wrestling and tries to let everyone know that his "AWA" is the real deal and tries to get everyone to come to the next show by hanging out, acting like a big shot, and handing out flyers. This scum gutter fuck actually tells people he is an AWA legend. Doing this doesn't draw shit. Nobody cares and people laugh in his face. Keep in mind that DeFalco was "voted" by the "AWA" as the promoter of the year last year. Yeah, that's how great the AWA is.

I don't pay to get into these shows. I go in through the side door of the bowling alley and DeFalco knows this and never says anything. He doesn't come near me ever since he bumped into my wife, who was seated at the bar at Sharkey's and caused her to spill her drink on herself. The fuck didn't even say sorry. He said "hey baby" and my wife threw the rest of her drink in his face. I proceeded to get up and was ready to pound the fuck out of this clown, but my wife and my brother talked me out of it. The fat fuck couldn't even look me in the eye when I confronted him. LOSER.

This is a small sample of what the AWA is now. It's not really anything except a bunch of has-beens and never-will-be's trying to put on wrestling matches. The Mulkey brothers could show up and probably out wrestle any of these chumps. Hell, the Dynamite Kid could roll in on his fucking wheelchair and display more skill than these fucks. Fuck 'em. Fuck em all with Vachon's fake leg.



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 Posted: Wed Apr 16th, 2008 03:58 pm
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sek69 wrote: Vintage Wrestling wrote: The current AWA is a fucking sham and I honestly hope it gets shut down. There is an AWA member that does shows in my area at a fucking bowling area. Yeah....pathetic. Draws maybe 30-40 people tops. They are trying to tie into to the AWA past and it is soooo pathetic.


Heh, the real AWA wasn't that much better.

Your troll-fu is weak, my son.

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 Posted: Wed Apr 16th, 2008 04:01 pm
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BigJ



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thunderbolt wrote: A few years ago a discussion on KM caused me to pull the docket on Verne's personal bankurptcy, which was filed in July, 1993 and included controlled entities named Minnetonka Partnership and Squared Circle Ventures.  Sale of an asset during bankurptcy requires court approval, and the docket doesn't reflect any assets sold under court supervision.  Now it could be that the bankurptcy was closed and the AWA logo and name was retained by Verne and sold after, but I am not clear on when Gagner claimed he acquired his 'rights' and have never seen an explanation other than Gagner buying them 'out of bankruptcy'.  The bankruptcy was closed on June 29, 1998, and if Gagner was doing business before then,  which seems certain given the reference to 1990 litigation over the same subject, the 'bought out of bankruptcy' story doesn't hold water.

As I understood it then, the bankruptcy was more motivated by Verne's efforts to salvage some real estate deals which went bad. 

Yeah - the thing I wonder is, if Gagner were doing this all without any rights to the name/logo/etc - with Verne being as hard up for money as he was from time to time in the 90's, why not sue?  It's a slam dunk.

The fact that he didn't has always convinced me that Gagner was to some degree legit in his claims to ownership.

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 Posted: Wed Apr 16th, 2008 05:26 pm
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thunderbolt
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From the original article:

"The complaint singled out Gagner, listed as the owner of "AWA Wrestling Entertainment" as a "serial offender", noting that in April 1990, The Minneapolis Boxing & Wrestling Club (which then owned the AWA trademarks) filed a similar claim against Gagner. The courts ruled against Gagner in June 1990, enjoining he and his company from creating any claims that represented him as part of the original AWA promotion."


If this allegation is true, Verne did sue and win in 1990.  The fact Gagner continued to use the name and logo for years after, and appareantly up until now, means either that Gagner did work out some form of license or permitted use arrangement OR he was openly violating a court order and nobody did anything about it.  The latter seems unlikely. The MBWC wasn't in play in the bankruptcy as na related entity and there is no evidence from the docket that any rights were sold to anybody during that proceeding.  It's all very curious.



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 Posted: Wed Apr 16th, 2008 06:00 pm
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Portalesman wrote: Its no less pathetic than NWA TNA, the NWA or the WWE Great American Bash or WWE Starcade, etc etc etc.  Get in your thick skulls that its all a fake show put on by carnival folk.  This is not a major world religion.  Its showbusiness.



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