What happens if Brock Lesnar and Paul Heyman are in the legal right?
Paul Heyman, the legal representative for Brock Lesnar, claimed this is an "open and shut case."
By the way things looked on Monday's Raw SuperShow, when WWE COO Triple H was enraged to the point of wrapping his hand around Heyman's face, this is instead shaping up to be a bitter, grueling dispute.
Heyman served Triple H with a lawsuit on behalf of Lesnar, alleging that WWE owes Brock millions of dollars because the verbal contract Lesnar made with Executive Vice President of Talent Relations John Laurinaitis was breached. As a result of the reneged verbal agreement, Brock quit WWE just a week after facing John Cena at Extreme Rules, the first match under his new WWE contract.
On the April 30 Raw SuperShow, Triple H stated that Laurinaitis didn't have the authority to make a verbal agreement to Lesnar’s additional contractual demands without first getting them approved by the WWE COO, and he had no intention of honoring them. The Game's decision to quash Laurinaitis’ verbal contract sent Brock into a rage and the behemoth countered the best way he knew how – by breaking Triple H's arm.
Although the physical attack was not provoked in any way, did Brock have a legitimate reason to fly off the handle? Was Lesnar's verbal agreement with the General Manager legally binding?
Unfortunately, it's not as clear-cut as Heyman convincingly makes it sound ...
As the old adage goes, it's always best to get any deal in writing. Depending on state law, contracts do not have to be in writing to be legally binding in many instances. Michigan, where the verbal agreement between Lesnar and Laurinaitis was made, honors verbal contracts but with a litany of legal stipulations too long to list here and subject to the court’s interpretation. Of course, there still remains the legal hurdle of proving the verbal agreement was made. If Heyman goes to court with WWE as promised, the easiest means of doing this would be witness testimony. As Heyman said so himself on the May 7 Raw SuperShow, Brock's verbal demands "were agreed to on live television, which makes every single [viewer] a party to that agreement."
However, what if Triple H was right? Is it true that Laurinaitis must get such talent agreements approved by the WWE COO before they become official?
For his part, Laurinaitis doesn't want to go back on his word to Brock when he agreed to the demands laid out during the Extreme Rules Match contract signing. Among those bold demands, Lesnar pushed for Raw to be officially renamed to Monday Night Raw, Starring Brock Lesnar. And in front of a sellout crowd of 16,122 in Detroit and the millions of WWE Universe members watching at home, the Executive Vice President of Talent Relations shook Brock's hand and clearly stated, "I agree to those terms."
If Laurinaitis did in fact have the power to grant Brock his requests, and with no shortage of potential witnesses at Heyman's disposal – not to mention the video footage – then the WWE COO has quite the sticky situation on his hands. Among the options: Triple H can take WWE's chances in court; or avoid a lengthy legal tussle and just pay Brock the millions of dollars he's allegedly owed; or attempt to bring Lesnar back and include all of his outrageous perks. The last option, although it's one fraught with danger, at least gives The Game an opportunity to attempt to get physical retribution for being viciously attacked by Brock. After all, passionate members of the WWE Universe would unanimously agree that battles in WWE should be settled in the ring, not in the courtroom.
Time will tell what course of action Triple H plans to take, and his final words to Heyman during their intense confrontation are as open to interpretation as the law itself.
"You tell Brock Lesnar he's gonna get everything he deserves."