In a surprise move, a federal judge Monday dismissed a lawsuit that accused Sony Music, label executives Tommy Mottola and Dave Glew and affiliates of racketeering, money laundering and extortion.
The suit, filed by Eric Wright, professionally known as rapper Eazy-E, claimed execs at the music giant conspired with Andre (Dr. Dre) Young and Marion (Suge) Knight to intimidate acts signed to Wright’s Comptown Records label into canceling their agreements.
The suit also named recording artist Michelle Toussant and Solar Records head Dick Griffey.
The ruling by U.S. District Court Judge William J. Rea was unexpected by Wright’s attorneys, who have filed three amended complaints in the lawsuit which began last year.
“We will definitely appeal,” said Michael Bourbeau, one of the attorneys representing Wright. “The judge made some erroneous findings which we believe the Ninth Circuit (Court of Appeals) will overturn and let us proceed. It is by no means over for us.”
Wright’s state court action against Young and Knight for “unlawful termination of contract release by menace,” which claims the pair used force and fear to get Wright to release artists signed to his label, is unaffected by the federal court ruling.
Attorneys for Sony and Dre did not return phone calls seeking comment.