The XFL, Vince McMahon's professional football league, laid off all employees and suspended operations on April 10. The league filed for bankruptcy three days later while naming multiple figures as creditors. Commissioner Oliver Luck was not among this group due to receiving a letter of termination on April 9. Now he has sued McMahon in federal court for wrongful termination.
According to ESPN, Luck filed the complaint last week in a U.S. District Court in Connecticut. The complaint says that the ex-commissioner "wholly disputes and rejects the allegations set forth in the Termination Letter and contends they are pretextual and devoid of merit." The lawsuit also alleges breach of contract. Luck was originally hired to run the XFL in May 2018, and he signed a contract worth $20 million.
Confidentiality clauses in Luck's contract have resulted in much of the lawsuit being redacted. However, it was made clear that he was not one of the creditors. The lawsuit reportedly seeks unspecified damages, attorney's fees and interest. It also seeks a declaratory judgment on fulfilling the terms of the contract.
Jerry McDevitt of K&L Gates, which represents McMahon, has since responded to Luck's complaint. A statement released said that "Oliver Luck's services as Commissioner and CEO of The XFL were terminated by a letter sent to him on Apr. 9, 2020 which explained the reasons for the termination. As to the lawsuit he filed, his allegations will be disputed and the position of Mr. McMahon will be set forth in our response to his lawsuit."
The XFL is currently for sale as part of the bankruptcy proceedings. However, the league employees told ESPN that they don't believe the league will return in 2021. McMahon originally announced the return of the XFL in January 2018, and the league spent two years in development.
The XFL returned in February and made it through five weeks of games featuring eight teams. The COVID-19 outbreak forced the league to cancel the season on March 21. There were questions about whether the league would be able to return in 2021, but operations were suspended on March 10.
"The COVID-19 pandemic, and the most recent local and state regulations, have left the XFL no choice but to officially cancel the remainder of the 2020 season," the XFL said in a statement in March. "This decision has been made with the health and safety of the entire XFL family as our top priority. While we are disappointed to not complete the 2020 season, our hearts are full of appreciation for your overwhelming support."