Vince McMahon Created NDAs Without WWE Knowledge, Experts Believe NDAs Could Be Invalid

Vince McMahon

Details have emerged regarding Vince McMahon creating NDAs with multiple people and he did so without WWE knowing about it.

It has been reported that Vince McMahon is under federal investigation due to his behavior as the former WWE Chairman.

On January 25th, it was revealed that a lawsuit was filed against Vince McMahon alleging sex trafficking and sexual assault by Janel Grant, who is a former WWE employee. One day later when sponsors like Slim Jim threatened to remove themselves from WWE’s current product, McMahon resigned from his position on the TKO Group Board of Directors. McMahon also says he didn’t do anything wrong and plans to attempt to clear his name.

Following all of the negative attention to WWE brought on by the lawsuit, World Wrestling Entertainment has done its best to erase Vince from the company that he created, built and ran for over 40 years.

It has since been revealed in the summer of 2023, Vince McMahon was served with a grand jury subpoena for “documents related to any allegation of ‘rape, sex trafficking, sexual assault, commercial sex transaction, harassment or discrimination’ against current or former WWE employees.”

Janel Grant and at least four of the women named in the grand jury subpoena had entered into settlement agreements (Non-Disclosure Agreements aka NDAs) with McMahon over allegations of sexual misconduct.

A new report from VICE’s Tim Marchman alleges that the NDAs that several signed, along with Vince McMahon, were created in secret and entered into without WWE’s knowledge. That’s why in the summer of 2022, when the world first learned of McMahon’s NDA agreements, WWE had to issue revised earning statements due to McMahon creating those NDAs on his own.

In the VICE story, it was revealed that an NDA can’t prevent a victim from bringing criminal charges or talking to investigators.

“An NDA cannot be used as a shield to prevent a victim from bringing criminal charges or speaking to investigators. If these women or others desire to speak out in public or bring civil suits, though, it’s not clear that an agreement like the one Grant signed would prevent that.”

Grant’s case became known publicly due to McMahon not making a payment that was agreed upon. That led to Grant filing a lawsuit against McMahon while also naming former WWE Head of Talent Relations John Laurinaitis as well.

Vince McMahon Signing NDAs Is A Conflict Of Interest

A lawyer named Carrie Goldberg represented victims of jailed movie producer Harvey Weinstein. While speaking to VICE, Carrie Goldberg called the NDAs “poorly drafted” and had similar analysis to Grant’s lawyers, who claimed that “the suit that the NDA should be voided because the language is so broad that it could prevent her from listing WWE on her resume.”

According to Carrie Goldberg in the VICE story, the NDA is vague.

“The NDA makes references to confidentiality, but there’s no definition of what to be confidential about. It’s very vague. Usually there’s super-specific information about what to be confidential about.”

Goldberg went on to say that it was “bizarre” that Vince McMahon secretly signed on both his behalf and that of WWE after seeking counsel from his longtime attorney, Jerry McDevitt. McDevitt is now retired and didn’t respond to the story.

Jodi Short is a professor at UC Law San Francisco with a lot of experience in studying NDA’s and she wrote in an email that the agreement could be invalid.

“It is my considered opinion that NDAs such as the one you sent me are unenforceable under common law contract doctrine. But there is very little case law squarely on point, and litigating such a case would expose an individual to enormous cost and litigation risk.”

“That’s why most people end up silenced by NDAs even if, technically, they’re not worth the paper they’re written on. It’s not just the paper. It’s paper backed by an extreme asymmetry in resources between the two parties.”

It was also reported by Fightful Select that a longtime WWE doesn’t believe the current allegations against Vince McMahon are even the “worst of it” and there are likely bigger settlements with other victims that have yet to be identified.