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As their Straight Outta Compton film enjoys tremendous success in theaters across the nation, Dr. Dre and Ice Cube have filed court papers demanding they be released from a lawsuit over an incident earlier this year that’s loosely connected with the film.
In January, rap mogul Marion “Suge” Knight ran over one of the film’s technical advisors, Cle “Bone” Sloan and Compton businessman Terry Carter. The death of Carter has led to a wrongful death and negligence lawsuit by his widow, who in a complaint filed in June painted the “tragic tale of how reckless corporate greed, disguised as a quest for authenticity, lead to a foreseeable altercation that resulted in the death of a successful businessman named Terry Carter, and left his wife of 28 years, and his two daughters asking why his death ever had to occur.”
Dr. Dre and Knight have been feuding for years ever since the hip-hop star left Death Row Records. Dre has a restraining order against Knight.
Last January, a commercial for Straight Outta Compton was being filmed when Knight showed up because of reported unhappiness about his portrayal and financial participation.
According to the complaint, Universal and Pretty Bird Pictures hired Sloan to recruit gang members to serve as extras as well as provide security for on-location shooting in gang-controlled neighborhoods. When Knight showed up at “base camp,” Sloan directed him to leave.
Knight and Carter, who was acting as a peacemaker, then arranged to meet up in the parking lot of a fast food restaurant about three miles away. It was there that Sloan reappeared to continue his verbal altercation with Knight, who slammed down on his gas pedal with the alleged intent of running over Sloan. Knight also hit and killed Carter.
The lawsuit against those involved with Straight Outta Compton alleges that the defendants should have known about the tensions between Dr. Dre and Knight and should have made security provisions to create a safe environment. It’s also alleged that Dr. Dre and Cube are vicariously liable for Sloan’s conduct.
In a demurrer filed last week, Dr. Dre and Cube say they committed no malfeasance, that their only affirmative act was a “specific request” that Sloan direct Knight to leave camp. This, they say, “did not create undue risks for anyone, let alone Carter.”
The two also say they owed no duty to Carter, that Knight’s assault wasn’t foreseeable, and raise the prospect of what might have happened if they allowed Knight to stay at base camp.
According to their motion, “These allegations plainly demonstrate that allowing Suge to remain at the base camp posed a serious risk that Suge could have injured someone at the camp — including Dr. Dre, Bone or one of the numerous cast and crew working on the film. Certainly, the risk that Suge might leave the base camp and proceed to his fatal confrontation with Carter was no more foreseeable than the possibility that Suge would injure or kill someone else if he had been permitted to stay.”
The former N.W.A members represented by attorney Alexander Cote say that there’s no proximate cause connecting their actions to Carter’s fatality, and argue that public policy and common sense can’t possibly demand “tolerating the presence of a dangerous and violent criminal with a grudge.”
Suge Knight is currently awaiting trial for murder of Carter and attempted murder of Sloan.
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