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Former NWA manager allowed to proceed with defamation suit against Straight Outta Compton

By | Published on Tuesday 29 March 2016

Straight Outta Compton

A US judge has allowed a defamation lawsuit filed by former NWA manager Jerry Heller to proceed, but only just. As previously reported, Heller has sued pretty much everyone who had any involvement in the NWA biopic ‘Straight Outta Compton’ claiming that the way he was portrayed in the movie constituted defamation.

The former manager also sued for misappropriation of likeness, tortious interference, breach of a settlement agreement and copyright infringement, the latter claims relating to an old contract he had with the hip hop group and scripts he contributed to which, he says, the ‘Straight Outta Compton’ screenplay was based on.

The film’s producer tried to have the lawsuit dismissed, arguing free speech rights amongst other things. Judge Michael W Fitzgerald, overseeing the case, concurred with the producer on some points, though he didn’t go so far as to dismiss the case outright, and legal reps for Heller now have an opportunity to resubmit their legal complaint in a way that overcomes the issues raised by the defence.

According to The Hollywood Reporter, Heller’s attorney Michael Shapiro welcomed the decision, noting “the court’s made it clear we have one more shot at this”.