Matt Riddle has filed a motion to dismiss the lawsuit brought against him by Candy Cartwright (Samantha Tavel).
PWInsider reports the motion was filed on December 3 before the United States District Court for the Northern District of Illinois, Eastern Division.
Riddle's motion claims that Tavel's lawsuit fails to establish that the Circuit Court of Cook County has jurisdiction over him and that the allegations also fail to meet federal pleading requirements. It is argued that since he does not live or own property in Illinois, he cannot fall under their jurisdiction. It is also argued that the lawsuit fails to claim that his "allegedly tortious activities were purposefully directed at residents of the forum" as Tavel is not and has never been a resident of Illinois and that Tavel can not claim any connection to her "alleged injuries" and the state of Illinois.
Furthermore, the motion argues that while he was in Illinois performing for EVOLVE and that the alleged incident happened "on a bus leaving" the venue, therefore those duties would have been completed by the time he was alleged to have assaulted Tavel, so any professional connection to the State of Illinois had been completed.
For those reasons, Riddle's attorneys are claiming the lawsuit against him should be thrown out, as they are not strong enough under Illinois law to move beyond speculation and that given the nature of the claims, the court has no hold over Riddle.
The filing notes, "Mr. Riddle believes [The April 2017] allegation refers to a consensual sexual encounter the couple had in a car on or about April 23, 2017 in New York City after an Evolve event. Mr. Riddle was not in Illinois in April 2017 and did not purposefully direct his activities at any Illinois residents in April 2017."
In regards to the May 19, 2018 accusation where Tavel alleges Riddle forced her to perform oral sex on him by choking her, it is noted that videographer Joseph M. Ranta transported numerous performers from the venue to their hotel in Michigan.
An affidavit from Ranta was presented along with GPS records being filed into evidence. The filing notes the following:
Based on Mr. Ranta’s GPS and Ms. Tavel’s June 19, 2020 Twitter post, the earliest time the assault could have occurred was during the 2.5-hour drive between the Denny’s in Portage, Indiana, and Mr. Ranta’s residence in Mason, Michigan. Therefore, it is impossible to state a claim under the IGVA for violence that did not arise in Illinois between nonresidents of Illinois.
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.
The filing also notes, "Ms. Tavel pleads two specific alleged assaults – one in April 2017 and one on May 19, 2018 – but no facts that tie these alleged injuries to Illinois."
Tavel's initial lawsuit was filed in Cook County, but WWE successfully got the lawsuit moved to the Northern District of Illinois. WWE has argued that Riddle was not under contract with them at the time and they had no involvement in the EVOLVE events that weekend.
Tavel filed the lawsuit against Matt Riddle, World Wrestling Entertainment, Gabe Sapolsky and Evolve Wrestling in October and is seeking $10 million per defendant.
Fightful will continue to update fans on the story as more unfolds.