Martha Hart, who is the widow of the late wrestler Owen Hart, recently appeared on “Talk Is Jericho” to speak about the upcoming “Dark Side of the Ring,” which will cover her husband’s accidental death in May of 1999.
Chris Jericho asked her to talk about how the Owen Hart Foundation got started, and Hart went through the story about the trial over her husband’s wrongful death in Kansas City. Hart revealed that WWE, then WWF, sued her for breaching her husband’s contract.
“When I was going through my really hard legal battle against WWE, it was really tough. I have to say it was a knockdown, drag out fight, battle against them. A lot of people might not realize this, but they actually sued me for breach of Owen’s contract…
“It was the craziest thing because they had in their contract that you could only sue them in Connecticut, but I wasn’t suing them about Owen’s contract. It was something totally different. Through that process of the lawsuit, they were trying anything and everything to muddy the waters or just intimidate me. They were just kind of throwing everything at me. That was also part and parcel about sort of manipulating Owen’s family and muddying the waters and just drawing it out. This was a company that had deep pockets and they could have lawyers forever to keep this going and going…
“Then Vince sued me because he wanted the case moved to Connecticut because in Missouri you’re allowed punitive damages, but in Connecticut you’re not. So he was so worried that, ‘Oh my god there’s so much negligence here, the punitive damages are going to be through the roof.’ So he sued me, which was really tough because I had to actually hire lawyers in Connecticut to fight that lawsuit while I was battling the wrongful death lawsuit in Kansas City. Then with the family working against me… everything was such a mess. It was so discouraging and awful.
“We wanted to stop the delay… so my lawyers said, ‘Listen, if we put a number on the table, they won’t accept it, but what happens is the interest starts running on that number and that will prompt them to speed up the lawsuit…’ So we put this number on the table that I didn’t want them to accept because I wanted this to go to trial. I wanted accountability, I wanted justice. Then we got to the last day where they had the chance to accept it… I never thought of the possibility that they might accept it… then she said, ‘Well you know at the end of the day, all it’s going to come down to is money. That’s all this is going to… no one’s going to jail.’ I never thought about it because I was just so hellbent on justice. It was crushing… No matter what I’m going to do is no matter how this thing ends, I am going to start the Owen Hart Foundation. It uplifted me.
“…I looked at settlement like failure. I don’t want that. I want to be in court and I want accountability. Then I when I realized I wasn’t going to get the justice I was looking for legally, so I created my own justice.”
“Dark Side of the Ring: The Final Days of Owen Hart” premieres on Vice on TV this Tuesday, May 19 at 10 p.m. Eastern/9 Central.
You can listen to the full episode of “Talk Is Jericho” with Martha Hart below.