Word Wrestling Entertainment has announced that it has settled a years-long lawsuit with Martha Hart, widow of former WWE wrestler Owen Hart. The lawsuit concerned royalties regarding the use of Hart’s image in DVDs and merchandise.
According to the Washington Post, the WWE and Martha Hart announced the settlement quietly on Wednesday evening. Details of the settlement were not released to the public.
Owen Hart, Martha Hart’s former spouse and superstar of the 1990s wrestling scene, died on camera in 1999 while being lowered into the wrestling ring as a part of the WWE’s “Over the Edge” pay-per-view wrestling event at Kansas City’s Kemper Arena. Hart’s harness malfunctioned during the stunt and he fell 80 feet to his death. He was 34.
In June 2010, Martha Hart launched her lawsuit against the WWE, stating that the wrestling organization refused to pay royalties on merchandise and products using Hart’s image. A WWE fan site specifically mentions the WWE retrospective DVDs “Hart & Soul” and “The True Story of Wrestlemania” as key part of the lawsuit.
Included in Hart’s suit was former WWE executive Linda McMahon, who made two unsuccessful attempts to run for Senate as a Republican in 2010 and 2012.
This is not the first time Martha Hart has sued the WWE. In 1999, only weeks after Owen Hart died, she sued the WWE (then known as the WWF, the World Wrestling Federation) in a wrongful death suit. Hart was ultimately awarded $18 million, which she used to establish the Owen Hart Foundation. The charity provides educational funding and housing for students and families in need.