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Shakur Film Recieves Favorable Ruling
CNS--Tupac Shakur's mother and Morgan Creek Productions both left court with a favorable ruling today in dueling litigation over the right to make a biographical film about the late rapper.
Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Richard E. Rico dismissed Afeni Shakur's claim for fraud and deceit, saying there was no evidence of any reliance by the singer's mother on any promises made by the production company.
But he left intact an interference with prospective economic advantage allegation in her countersuit, saying there were enough facts in the complaint to support it.
"This was a good day for us," said Shakur's attorney, A. Sasha Frid. "This is a case about interference. We'll be going to trial and we'll get our day in court."
Frid said his client can still seek punitive damages, despite the dismissal of the fraud claim.
In her $10 million cross-complaint filed March 16, Shakur's Amaru Entertainment claims Morgan Creek used coercion to try and make a deal for the movie rights, then contacted other movie houses in an attempt to sabotage Amaru's attempts to have the project made elsewhere.
"Instead of negotiating in good faith with (Amaru), they sought to obtain the rights by concocting a non-existent agreement and engaging in heavy- handed threats, coercion and intimidation to interfere with and ultimately destroy the film project," the lawsuit alleges.
Morgan Creek fired the first volley in the litigation, alleging in a Feb. 17 lawsuit that Amaru reneged on a deal to sell life rights for a biopic about the slain rapper-actor.
The company, headed by James Robinson and former Creative Artists Agency agent Rick Nicita, said it received a final term sheet in December detailing everything that would be required to reach an agreement.
The proposal was accepted by Morgan Creek executives in late January, but Amaru has refused to honor it, the complaint alleges.
But Amaru wants a judge to declare that there never was a deal.
Amaru was the middle name of the 25-year-old Shakur, who was shot to death in Las Vegas in September 1996. His rival, Christopher "Notorious B.I.G" Wallace, was fatally shot six months later in Los Angeles at age 24.
A movie about Wallace's life, "Notorious," was released in January and grossed $21 million. Amaru alleges Morgan Creek delayed a decision on its counter-proposal for the Shakur film to see how well the Wallace movie did at the box office.
Morgan Creek was behind such films as "Young Guns," "Major League" and "Ace Ventura: Pet Detective."