Judge Allows Jerry Heller’s “Straight Outta Compton” Lawsuit To Continue


(AllHipHop News) A defamation lawsuit filed by former N.W.A. manager Jerry Heller against Ice Cube and Dr. Dre has been given the go-ahead by a Los Angeles judge.

Heller sued the studio behind last year’s acclaimed N.W.A. biopic “Straight Outta Compton” for at least $110 million in October of 2015, claiming he was negatively portrayed in the movie by actor Paul Giamatti.

He also claimed he never gave permission for his likeness to be used in the movie, or for the filmmakers to use elements from his book “Ruthless: A Memoir.”

Studio bosses at NBC Universal, director F. Gary Gray, and N.W.A. stars and movie producers Dr. Dre and Ice Cube filed a motion to dismiss his lawsuit in February, but in March a federal judge ruled the case could continue.

However, District Judge Michael Fitzgerald has now ruled certain elements in the case do not amount to defamation, but he is allowing Heller’s action to move forward based on two scenes in the movie, in which he is portrayed as a shady manager who instructed rapper Ice Cube to sign a contract without consulting a lawyer.

The judge explains that while many other scenes in the film are mentioned in Heller’s memoir and can be portrayed in “colorful and hyperbolic” terms, the scenes in which his character tells Ice Cube, played by the rapper’s son O’Shea Jackson, Jr., that lawyers “are paid to make trouble” and “create problems where none exists” are not true.

“The Film arguably portrays Plaintiff as an exploitative record label manager who attempted to take advantage of an unsophisticated artist by discouraging him from retaining an attorney during contract negotiations,” Fitzgerald writes.

“Viewers would not necessarily interpret the manager’s attempts to prevent an unsophisticated artist from hiring an attorney in a favorable or even neutral light. Those attempts go beyond what is normally expected at the negotiation table, and agents who engage in such tactics may well carry a bad reputation in the industry.”

However, Fitzgerald has stated that Heller still has to prove the situation portrayed in the film didn’t happen and it was maliciously written into the movie.