WWE's Riddle Files Motion To Dismiss Candy Cartwright Lawsuit
2 months after the lawsuit was filed...
Back in October, Candy Cartwright (Samantha Tavel) filed a multimillion-dollar lawsuit against Riddle (Matt Riddle), WWE, EVOLVE and Gabe Sapolsky in the Circuit Court of Cook County, Illinois. Cartwright is seeking $10 million in damages from each defendant.
Within the filing, Cartwright alleges Riddle sexually assaulted her on numerous occasions from April 2017 to January 2020. Tavel cited three incidents in the lawsuit, with the last incident taking place on January 31, 2020. She alleges her bookings with EVOLVE and WWE were cancelled following the incident because of "issues with talent."
WWE and EVOLVE were named in the lawsuit because the alleged misogynistic culture within both companies encouraged Riddle's behaviour and created an environment that accepts sexual assault. You can read more about the lawsuit here.
Since the lawsuit was filed, WWE successfully had it moved to the United States District Court for the Northern District Of Illinois.
PWInsider recently reported that Riddle filed a motion to dismiss the lawsuit in the United States District Court for the Northern District Of Illinois on December 3.
Within the filing, the WWE Superstar denied any wrongdoing and stated: "Mr. Riddle emphatically denies Ms. Tavel's torrid tale. He and Ms. Tavel had a nearly three-year affair during which they engaged only in consensual sexual activity. In July 2019, Mr. Riddle ended the affair after his wife learned of the relationship. In June 2020, Ms. Tavel tweeted an accusation that he sexually assaulted her in a van while other wrestlers were asleep."
Riddle also alleges: "Ms. Tavel had a hard time accepting the end of the relationship, and Mr. Riddle changed his telephone number more than once to avoid her calls. Mr. Riddle had no control over any employment relationship Ms. Tavel had with Evolve or WWE."
The WWE Superstar claims the lawsuit against him should be dismissed because it fails to establish that the Circuit Court of Cook County, Illinois has jurisdiction over him. Tavel's allegations also allegedly fail to meet "pleading requirements that bring them beyond speculation."
Riddle's filing mentioned two of the alleged incidents, one in April 2017 and another on May 19, 2018. No facts tie these incidents to Illinois, Riddle claims.
In regards to the April 2017 incident, Riddle stated he and Tavel had a "consensual sexual encounter" in New York City following an EVOLVE show.
In regards to the May 2018 incident, Riddle noted he performed at EVOLVE 104 and Tavel was at the event as well. Riddle claimed a videographer named Joseph M. Ranta drove multiple performers to their hotel in Michigan in his van as there was another event in Livonia, Michigan the next day.
Riddle attached an affidavit from Ranta in the suit along with photos of the van.
Within the affidavit, Ranta claims Keith Lee, Anthony Henry and JD Drake were also in the van. The records from Ranta's GPS note they left the Summit Park District in Illinois at 12:26 am on May 20, 2018, and stopped for fuel at 12:34 am. They then drove to a Denny's in Portage, Indiana and arrived at 1:22 am. He claims they entered the state at approximately 1:10 am. They left Denny's at 2:35 am and drove to Ranta's home in Mason, Michigan. Ranta, Tavel and Riddle spent 12 minutes at the home before the videographer drove everyone to The Comfort Inn Metro Airport near Detroit, Michigan. During the car ride, Keith Lee fell asleep before they reached Denny's. Only Ranta, Riddle and Tavel were awake after departing Denny's. The affidavit neither states nor denies any alleged assault took place.
Furthermore, Riddle's filing claims if any alleged incident did take place, it most likely did not take place in Illinois.
It also claims: "Even drawing the facts in a light most favorable to Ms. Tavel, the May 19, 2018 assault is inherently implausible and her right to relief is speculative at best. Mohammed v. Sidecar Technologies, Inc., No. 16 C 2538, 2016 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 156090, at *20 (N.D. Ill. Nov. 10, 2016) (dismissing claim where court could not draw reasonable inference that defendant violated the statute based on conclusory and speculative allegations). It is implausible that Mr. Riddle would ask to engage in sexual intercourse "in front of other members of Evolve while on a bus," immediately after performing at a wrestling event, without any witnesses in a small but full vehicle. If that did happen, no matter the size of the vehicle, surely, someone would have noticed the assault and said something. Count I does not plausibly state a claim, and it should be dismissed."