Jerry McDevitt cites retirement as WWE replaces attorneys in MLW lawsuit

Photo: Steve Mellon/Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

Jerry McDevitt will no longer be representing WWE in the ongoing antitrust lawsuit filed by MLW. WWE’s long-time defense attorney tells Wrestlenomics he’s transitioning toward retirement.

Lawyers from Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Warton & Garrison LLP, will instead defend WWE in the lawsuit. Attorneys from that firm who filed today to represent WWE include Walter Brown, Karen Dunn, William Michael, and Brette Tannenbaum. They replace lawyers, including McDevitt, from the K&L Gates firm.

Paul, Weiss attorneys have already been working with WWE recently, advising the company on the pending merger with UFC, according to SEC filings.

The judge in the MLW v. WWE case ruled last month to deny WWE’s motion to dismiss MLW’s complaint, allowing litigation to advance to discovery and a possible trial. The lawsuit, which is filed in federal court in California, alleges WWE interfered in MLW’s media deals, among other allegations. MLW’s suit was initially dismissed earlier this year, but the judge allowed the wrestling company led by Court Bauer to file an amended complaint.

McDevitt confirmed to us earlier today that he’ll no longer be working on the lawsuit. He said he’s “wrapping things up” at the end of 2023, and the case is likely to be litigated well beyond that time. He gave the following response by email:

As you may know, since early 2022 I have been working towards retirement. I had hoped that the Court would again dismiss MLW’s lawsuit as it did the first time. When it did not, and it became obvious that the case would run into at least 2025 in all probability, I advised my client that I would be wrapping things up by year-end and that it would make sense for them to secure counsel who can go the distance on the case now that discovery will be starting. There is also the chance that I might be a witness given the allegations. I will be 74 this January and it just seems like the right time to make necessary transitions.

We have worked with Paul[,] Weiss on other matters and they are an excellent firm who I will be helping get up to speed.

It has been a great 36-year run with a great Company and Vince [McMahon], and I am very proud of all that we accomplished during that time, and I will continue to help them any way I can.

McDevitt has represented WWE and Vince McMahon in numerous lawsuits and other legal matters going back to 1987. He mentioned intending to retire in an interview in January 2022.

Brandon Thurston has written about wrestling business since 2015. He’s also worked as an independent wrestler and trainer.

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