Gabe Sapolsky has filed a motion to dismiss the lawsuit against him put forth by Samantha Tavel.
During the #SpeakingOut movement that took place during the summer of 2020 which saw several professional wrestling personalities accused of sexual misconduct, Samantha Tavel accused WWE Superstar Riddle of assaulting her after an EVOLVE show in May of 2018.
In October 2020, Tavel filed a lawsuit against EVOLVE Wrestling, Gabe Sapolsky, Riddle, and World Wrestling Entertainment, seeking 10 million dollars from each defendant.
In the motion for dismissal filed by Gabe on January 8, several different reasons are noted as to why he feels the court should dismiss the proceedings against him. Gabe also responds specifically to the allegations against him
In the motion, Sapolsky argues that Tavel’s lawsuit fails to State a cognisable claim under the Illinois Gender Violence Act.
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 Complaint’s “labels and conclusions” without factual support are insufficient to plead more than speculative relief.
Gabe also denies allegations that Matt Riddle told him about abusing Tavel:
The Complaint does not allege Mr. Riddle ever informed Mr. Sapolsky that Ms. Tavel had rejected his advances before the violence ceased entirely. Even if such knowledge is attributed to Mr. Sapolsky, it cannot infer encouragement or assistance by him of acts of gender-violence by Mr. Riddle to Ms. Tavel because the so-called tacit approval, removing Ms. Tavel from future bookings, occurred after the violence had ended. As federal and Illinois courts uniformly hold, these deficient allegations foreclose a cause of action against Mr. Sapolsky.
It is also stated that Gabe was not in Illinois on the weekend in question:
*Sapolsky was not in Illinois in April 2017, a weekend Tavel had accused Riddle of attacking her in her law; there was no EVOLVE event in Illinois that weekend and Riddle has previously stated that he believes Tavel is referring to a consensual encounter the two had in New York that weekend. Sapolsky stating he was not in Illinois is obviously to point out a factual inaccuracy in the original lawsuit because that error further distances him from Illinois jurisdiction.
Samantha Tavel has until January 25 to file an official response to Sapolsky's motion to dismiss. WWE and Riddle also filed motions for dismissal. The court will rule on WWE, Riddle, and Sapolsky's motions to dismiss by February 8.