Janel Grant Files Motion To Strike Vince McMahon's Preliminary Statement

Janel Grant files a response to Vince McMahon.

On April 23, Vince McMahon and his lawyers filed a motion to compel arbitration in relation to the lawsuit filed by Janel Grant in January. In the filing, McMahon denied claims made by Grant, including claims of sex trafficking, emotional abuse, and sexual assault.

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One day later, Grant has filed a motion to strike McMahon's preliminary statement from the filing.

His preliminary statement read:

By publicly filing her salacious, false and defamatory Complaint, Plaintiff has brazenly and intentionally violated a binding contract to arbitrate. The Complaint’s outrageous claims of sexual abuse and coercion are pure fiction—plainly intended to garner publicity—and are flatly contradicted by Plaintiff’s own contemporaneous statements. Contrary to Plaintiff’s false allegations, Plaintiff and Defendant (collectively, the “Parties”) engaged in a consensual relationship during which Defendant never coerced Plaintiff into doing anything and never mistreated her in any way. In fact, in a love letter Plaintiff wrote to Defendant shortly before the Parties ended their relationship, Plaintiff described Defendant as “[m]y best friend, my love and my everything,” praising him for being the “wonderful, tender, vulnerable, heart-on-your-sleeve soul you really are.” It is incredulous that Plaintiff, a then 42-year-old woman who claims on her resume to have a law degree from Pace University, would have written these words to Defendant months after all the events in the Complaint of alleged abuse, coercion, and “sex-trafficking” took place.

At the time the Parties met in 2019, Plaintiff was not “dealing with profound grief [from her parents’ deaths] and struggling financially” as described in her Complaint and she had not been “devoting years to around-the-clock caregiving” of her parents. (See Compl. ¶ 3.) Those statements are complete falsehoods. Based on a foreclosure action against Plaintiff and her parents, Plaintiff’s father passed away on April 18, 2017—two years before Plaintiff met Defendant – and his marital status was recorded as “widowed” confirming Plaintiff’s mother had passed earlier.

Court records further show that contrary to her claim of “around-the-clock caregiving,” Plaintiff’s father lived in a senior care home in Stamford, Connecticut before he passed away— not with her—and the Grants’ neighbor would bring Plaintiff’s mother dinner and “help around the house” before she passed. Id. Dkt. No. 31 (“Affidavit of Due Diligence”) at 3. In fact, contrary to her story of around-the-clock devotion in the Complaint, the foreclosure action on her parents’ home reveals that Plaintiff was adamant that she did not want to be associated with “any of this” and failed to respond to requests regarding the foreclosure action. Affidavit of Due Diligence at 3. Indeed, Plaintiff was so absent in her parents’ lives that it took substantial time and significant effort for the creditor in the action to locate her and identify her as her parents’ next-of-kin.

In addition to falsehoods about her own background, Plaintiff’s Complaint is further riddled with fabrications and omissions about her relationship with Defendant. During the Parties’ consensual relationship, Plaintiff and Defendant knew that the other was also involved in other romantic relationships. Plaintiff was living in Park Tower, a luxury multi-million-dollar building in Stamford, Connecticut with her long-time fiancé, attorney, Brian Goncalves (“Goncalves”). Since August 2022, Goncalves has served as Senior Vice President and Chief Privacy Officer of TelevisaUnivision, and Goncalves previously held positions with Mastercard and Hewlett- Packard. Plaintiff and Goncalves lived in the same luxury building as Defendant—just four floors below—when the Parties began their affair in 2019. Plaintiff would often visit Defendant at his condominium at all hours, including at 2:30 a.m., to pursue their affair and then return back to her condominium with Goncalves the same night. It is nonsensical that the disturbing alleged acts in the Complaint including violence, coerced sex, and forcing Plaintiff to be defecated on were taking place before Plaintiff returned to her lawyer fiancé four floors below without incident. Defendant was never contacted by Goncalves (who was on the Board of the luxury building), anyone at the building, the police, any friends of Plaintiff, or any lawyer or advocate for Plaintiff at any time about the fictitious, extensive, years-long abusive behavior alleged in the Complaint.

After three years and having decided to return to their partners, in January 2022, Plaintiff and Defendant agreed to end their consensual affair and separate from each other, with Plaintiff leaving the company where they worked, World Wrestling Entertainment, Inc. (“WWE”). Plaintiff and Defendant entered into a binding contract to memorialize that agreement, entitled Confidential Settlement Agreement, General Release and Covenant Not to Sue (Ex. 1, the “Agreement” or “Agmt.”).1 Plaintiff initially wanted to include a term in the contract mandating that Defendant could not move out of their shared building but Defendant refused to include that term and did move out. Plaintiff’s contention that that contract, between Defendant and WWE, on the one hand, and Plaintiff, on the other, is not enforceable is utterly meritless—but that is an issue for the arbitrator. In fact, because the Parties wished to “preserve the confidential and private nature” of any disputes under the Agreement, they specifically provided in the Agreement that disputes would be resolved through arbitration. Plaintiff was represented by a lawyer who negotiated the Agreement for her before she executed it.

When Defendant learned that Plaintiff, despite her promises, had violated the Agreement by wrongfully disclosing both the existence of the Agreement and their relationship, he exercised his contractual right to withhold payment otherwise owed under the Agreement. In response,
1 Exhibit 1, which is attached to the Declaration of Vincent K. McMahon (“McMahon Decl.”) submitted herewith, is the fully executed Agreement. Exhibit 1 is otherwise identical to Exhibit A to the Complaint (Dkt. No. 1-1), which is signed only by Plaintiff.

Plaintiff sought to harm him. She intentionally violated the enforceable contract with her salacious, false and defamatory public filing. However, the FAA and binding United States Supreme Court precedent—and Plaintiff’s own agreement—require that if Plaintiff wishes to proceed with her fictitious claims, she must do so in arbitration, not in this Court, and that this action be stayed pending arbitration.

As this is a pre-answer motion, Defendant does not specifically address the substantive merits of Plaintiff’s counts asserted against him. For the avoidance of doubt, however, Defendant vehemently and categorically denies all allegations of wrongdoing in the Complaint, including Plaintiff’s outrageous claims that Defendant coerced Plaintiff into unwanted sexual acts, sexually assaulted and/or battered her, trafficked her, and defecated on her. Those are false statements intended for publicity. When the Complaint’s allegations are adjudicated in the proper forum (arbitration), witnesses are called to testify under oath, and all communications between the Parties (including those authored by Plaintiff which she intentionally did not share in her Complaint) are produced, the allegations and claims will be disproven and Plaintiff will be exposed for the liar she is. Meanwhile, for the foregoing reasons and as set forth further below, Defendant’s motion should be granted.

Grant's response reads:

Even for Vince McMahon, the baseless, irrelevant, and false statements in the Motion’s “Preliminary Statement”—designed solely to harass and intimidate his longtime victim, Janel Grant are a new low. For instance, McMahon’s unsupported assertions that Janel was “absent in her” dying parents’ lives and engaged to a wealthy attorney when she met McMahon are not only falsehoods conceived by McMahon to intimidate Janel into submission—as he has done countless times before—but have nothing to do with the legal arguments raised by the Motion. McMahon’s lies are easily disproven. In truth, while Janel’s father was in in-home hospice care during his final days, Janel continued to provide him with around-the-clock care. At the same time, Janel had also cared for her blind, wheelchair bound mother until her death. Moreover, Janel was not dating, let alone engaged to, her ex-fiancé in 2019. To the contrary, Janel’s ex-fiancé generously allowed Janel to stay in his apartment as she rebuilt her life following her parents’ passing. During this time, Janel had no job or other financial support aside from the friendship and generosity of her ex. Consistent with his past behavior, McMahon twists these truths to fit his own fictional narrative, much like the fantasy world of professional wrestling from where he came. Yet even if McMahon’s falsities concerning Janel’s private life were true (they are not), these statements have no bearing on the merits of Janel’s claims, let alone the Motion. McMahon’s statements have no place in the Motion, which should be concerned solely with whether this dispute must be submitted to arbitration. It was not necessary, reasonable, or responsible to use a public filing to impugn Janel’s moral character. Indeed, McMahon’s desperate attempt to distract from the legal substance of the Motion highlight its weakness and the weakness of his overall case. This Court has inherent power to strike a party’s filings. The Court should use that power to strike the Motion’s “Preliminary Statement” in its entirety and admonish McMahon and his counsel that such statements have no place in civil litigation.

Readers can find McMahon's full filing by clicking here.

Grant's response can be found by clicking here.

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