Martha Hart, the widow of Owen Hart, is taking action against her sister-in-law Diana Hart-Smith for what she claims are inaccurate and irresponsible statements about her and her family in a recently-released book, Under The Mat: Inside Wrestling’s Greatest Family.
“The book is filled with distortions, misstatements, and unjustified slurs that attempt to destroy the reputation of my family and me, and undermine the memory of Owen,” said Martha Hart in a press release. “I have no choice but to deliver a formal libel notice. If necessary, we will take further legal action to correct these distortions and vindicate our reputation.”
The book was co-written by Hart-Smith and Kirstie McLennan.
According to Julie Thorburn and Peter Steinmetz of the Toronto-based law firm Cassels Brock & Blackwell LLP, a preliminary review of the book identifies dozens of significant factual errors, unsubstantiated allegations and misleading statements about Mrs. Hart, her immediate family and the Hart family. The libel notice demands a retraction, an apology, and a withdrawal of the book in its present form. In addition to the authors, publishers C. Jordan Fenn and Fenn Publishing, and distributor H.B. Fenn & Co. Ltd. are named in the notice.
Earlier this month, Martha Hart told the Calgary Sun that she would be suing. “It’s full of libel and slander, and I’m serving a libel notice,” Martha Hart told the Sun’s Michael Wood.
Since Owen Hart’s death in May 1999, Martha Hart has been managing the Owen Hart Foundation, dedicated to helping people in need from all walks of life.