Jurors sided with CM Punk and Colt Cabana on Tuesday — clearing the pair in a defamation lawsuit filed by a WWE doctor upset with comments Punk made during a controversial 2014 podcast.
The decision came down around 4pm Chicago-time in Cook County Circuit Court, according to Wrestlezone, capping off a libel trial that lasted one week.
Over five days of testimony, Punk and Cabana’s lawyers tried to prove Punk believed what he said during the interview about Dr. Christopher Amann. Ultimately, Amann’s side had trouble proving any real monetary damage occurred. The doctor was seeking $4 million dollars (one dollar per each podcast stream) and additional punitive damages.
In the November 2014 podcast interview conducted by Cabana, Punk recalled his medical issues and treatments in the months leading up to him walking out of WWE following the Royal Rumble. Though he was rarely mentioned by name in the podcast, Amann felt Punk’s claims directly damaged his reputation and caused distress.
Amann told jurors he was harassed and humiliated by fans and that the podcast hurt his standing with patients. However, the WWE ringside physician couldn’t point to any monetary damages and he remains employed by the company.
Much of the testimony centered around a lump on Punk’s backside which Punk felt made him ill over an extended period. Punk contended Amann didn’t properly treat it. Amann claims he never saw it. His attorneys showed numerous texts and emails regarding Punk’s health and at no point did Punk put anything in writing with WWE doctors about the lump.
In the podcast, Punk said the lump ended up being a staph infection that ultimately could’ve cost him his life. It was shown it court that the lump was diagnosed by a physician’s assistant as a lump. Even so, the P.A. who treated Punk labeled it a possible staph infection — but never tested it.
Punk said the podcast was his way to “set the record straight for my fans” and tell his story. He told jurors he wouldn’t change anything about the interview.
At the end of the day, jurors didn’t see enough to prove Punk and Cabana legally defamed Amann.
With this trial now behind him, Punk has four days to get mentally prepared to step into the octagon. His second UFC fight is set for Saturday in Chicago against Mike Jackson.