Gabe Sapolsky has filed his response to the lawsuit from Candy Cartwright over Matt Riddle’s alleged sexual assault, asking for him to be dismissed as a defendant. PWInsider reports that Sapolsky filed his response on January 8th before the United States District Court for the Northern District of Illinois, Eastern Division.
Sapolsky was named as a defendant along with Riddle, WWE, and EVOLVE in Cartwright’s lawsuit, which is in relation to her allegation that Riddle choked her and forced her to perform oral sex on him in May 2018 on a bus leaving EVOLVE 104 in Summit, Illinois and that afterward Riddle took actions which led to booking dates with WWE being canceled.
Sapolsky’s motion argues that the court lacks jurisdiction over him as he doesn’t live in Illinois or hold property in the state, and is only there sparingly for work reasons. The response also noted that he did hire Cartwright (real name Samantha Tavel) to work at the event and that “She came to the event on her volition, insisted on attending the event, and paid her own expenses.” It includes Twitter DMs from Cartwright and Sapolsky in which she says she can take a “local” indy booking in the Northeast that weekend and he told her that she should feel free to take the other booking and they can use her on the next EVOLVE shows, as they would have only used her in “quick angles” the weekend of EVOLVE 104. Cartwright responds that she considers EVOLVE and WWN to be a “top priority” and later says that she booked her own flight to be there.
The motion says that Cartwright is anot an employee for EVOLVE, noting that the only employees were Sapolsky and Sal Hamaoui and that Cartwright “came to the event on her volition, insisted on attending the event, and paid her own expenses.” It adds that Riddle appeared at the show as an independent contractor, then goes on to say that Cartwright did not allege that the assault took place at the show, but rather after it on a vehicle that neither Sapolsky nor EVOLVE provided nor was Sapolsky there. It notes,
“Accordingly, any connection between the Evolve event or Mr. Sapolsky and the Complaints allegations terminated long before the alleged assault that forms the basis of the Complaint had occurred. Indeed, as the Complaint make clear, the alleged assault did not occur until after Mr. Ranta began driving his personal van and its passengers from the Indiana Dennys to his Michigan home.”
Sapolsky also argues that the lawsuit doesn’t make a “cognizable claim” under the Illinois Gender Violence Act (IGVA):
“Ms. Tavel pleads, pursuant to the Illinois statute detailed above, that Mr. Sapolsky had a duty of ordinary care to avoid causing injury and/or harmful or offensive contact, including acts of gender violence, and to refrain from encouraging or assisting tortious conduct, including acts of gender violence, committed by Mr. Riddle against her. As an initial matter, the statute does not set forth liability for common law breaches of duty, as the complaint pleads. Instead, to be liable, i.e. a perpetrator under the Act, the defendant must either personally commit the gender-related violence, or personally encourage or assist the act or acts of gender-related violence.”
The Complaint does not set forth any facts showing Mr. Sapolsky is a perpetrator under either of the criteria. It does not allege Mr. Sapolsky personally committed an act of gender-related violence against Ms. Tavel. Instead, Ms. Tavel alleges Mr. Sapolsky by and through its agents and/or employees violated the act. Importantly, Mr. Sapolsky is not a corporate entity, and does not have any agents or employees. Even if that were so, the Complaint does not specifically allege who these agents/employees are, how Mr. Sapolsky controlled their actions in such a way that they could be said to be his employees/agents, or how these purported employee/agents specifically encouraged or assisted in the commission gender violence acts against Ms. Tavel. The Complaints labels and conclusions without factual support are insufficient to plead more than speculative relief.”
Cartwright has until January 25th to file official response to Sapolsky’s motion, and the court will rule on WWE, Riddle and Sapolsky’s motions to dismiss by February 8th.