Former WWE Superstar Joey Mercury, real name Adam Birch, worked as both a trainer and an agent for Ring of Honor from May 2018, until October 2019 where he claims that he was forced to resign from the company due to ROH’s lack of concern over safety protocols and a lack of medical personnel present during matches.
According to a report from WrestleZone, Joey Mercury has filed a lawsuit against Ring of Honor and Sinclair Broadcasting. The lawsuit was filed in Maryland and claims that Mercury was forced to resign due to the company’s “lack of concern for the talent” and his increased workload for the company without a “commensurate increase” in pay.
The report also notes Article 33 through 35 in Mercury’s lawsuit, which describes his resignation as follows:
- During the time that Birch was performing services for ROH and Sinclair, Birch devoted himself to improving the working conditions and salaries of the Talent (wrestling performers). Birch expressed concerns to ROH and Sinclair regarding the lack of safety protocols and available medical supervision during the matches. Birch attempted to secure Talent for ROH and Sinclair and attempted to obtain reasonable compensation for the Talent. Birch endeavored to initial effective communication between ROH and Sinclair and the Talent. Birch’s efforts were disregarded by ROH and Sinclair and this disregard produced an unsafe working environment and poor overall working conditions and morale.
- During the time Birch was performing services for ROH and Sinclair, he was paid substantially less than other individuals performing these same services for similar companies.
- Due to the complete lack of concern for the Talent and the increasing responsibilities without a commensurate increase in compensation, Birch was forced to leave ROH and Sinclair on October 25, 2019.
In addition, if Joey Mercury’s is eventually misclassified as an independent contractor, the lawsuit then continues with a breach of contract claim. Mercury is also seeking royalties due, and claims of abusive discharge.
The lawsuit continues with Articles 93 through 97, which gives more detail on the claim that ROH failed to conduct matches with their talent in a safe manner.
- A nexus exists between Birch’s actions in attempting to ensure the safety of the Talent and obtaining reasonable compensation for the Talent and Birch’s forced resignation from Sinclair and ROH.
- Birch repeatedly expressed opinions to Sinclair, ROH, and others regarding the actions of Sinclair and ROH. These opinions that were expressed regarded the safety of the professional wrestlers and the inadequacy of the pay for the Talent.
- Sinclair and ROH were the promoters of the wrestling matches in which Birch expressed concern regarding the safety of the wrestlers.
- COMAR 19.14.08.06(B) requires that the promoter shall be responsible for conducting wrestling contests in a safe, peaceable, and orderly fashion.
- Sinclair and ROH failed to conduct the wrestling matches in a safe manner. Wrestlers suffered injuries from wrestling that were not recognized and not addressed. Sinclair and ROH permitted unsafe wrestling practices to occur and failed to respond to Birch’s complaints regarding the unsafe practices.
- As a direct and proximate result of Birch’s complaints and actions regarding the lack of safety protocols at Sinclair and ROH wrestling events and Sinclair and ROH’s complete lack of concern for the safety of the wrestlers, Birch was forced to resign.
- Birch is entitled to compensatory damages directly resulting from the termination of the relationship with Sinclair and ROH.
It should also be noted that this isn’t the only current lawsuit against Ring of Honor, as former Women of Honor Champion Kelly Klein recently filed a discrimination suit against the company in February. Her lawsuit also challenges her classification as an independent contractor.