The ongoing battle between Freeway Ricky Ross and rapper Rick Ross took a twist in court today (August 2), when a judged ruled that Freeway Ricky Ross must pay the rap star’s attorney fees and court costs, after losing a round in a battle for the rights to his own name and image.
Freeway Ricky Ross was in court today in front of Judge Rita Miller, who is presiding over trademark infringement case. Miller ruled that Freeway Ricky Ross must pay $500,000 in attorney fees and court costs on behalf of Rick Ross, born William Leonard Roberts II.
Lawyers for Freeway Ricky Ross unsuccessfully argued that each time Rick Ross mentioned the name in trade – in print, radio, or on the internet, that is was a re-usage of his name, which should have extended the statute of limitations.
Judge Miller upheld an earlier ruling, that stated that the statute of limitations of two years in regards to filing a complaint over the name had passed. In March of 2009, the lawsuit was dismissed from federal court.
“We believe that every time he goes on the radio he’s re-using my name, but the judge ruled that it’s one continuous use,” Freeway Ricky Ross explained to AllHipHop.com in an exclusive interview. “I believe that those are all re-uses of my name, separate and different from when he started to call himself Rick Ross. They were trying to get me to pay $1.3 million, but she [Judge Miller] knocked it down to $500k.
“It aint over and it aint never gonna be over until things get straight,” Freeway Ricky Ross promised AllHipHop.com. “I aint gonna stop, I am going to keep going until I get my name back and whatever else I got coming.”
It is important to note that today’s ruling was separate from another case that Freeway Ricky Ross has pending against Warner Brothers, for promoting the rapper Rick Ross and his career.
In July, a judge ruled that Freeway Ricky Ross could bring a lawsuit against Warner Music Group, which has officially been filed, according to the reformed Los Angeles drug kingpin.
Freeway Ricky served over 20 years in prison for cocaine distribution, but his activities, which earned an estimated $600 million, reverberated to the highest levels of government in the United States, via the Iran-Contra scandal.
Freeway Ricky Ross’ story was also the subject of a series of groundbreaking articles titled “Dark Alliance” which were written by Pulitzer Prize winning journalist Gary Webb, who was a writer for the San Jose Mercury News when the articles were published.
Gary Webb eventually committed suicide due to the fall-out over the subsequent press and investigations into his articles, which accused the CIA of being complicit in a conspiracy to introduce crack cocaine to the streets of Los Angeles, in order to fund a foreign war.
Freeway Ricky Ross took issue with Rick Ross’ testimony that his name “Rick Ross” was derived from a nickname he used when he was an All-American Football player at Carol City High School.
“He never even played for the team,” Freeway Ricky Ross told AllHipHop.com. ” And for somebody to say they never heard of me erroneous. He’s supposed to be a connoisseur of gangsterism and he never heard of Rick Ross? Come it’s crazy. I don’t know who he thinks I am, [but] he better check my rep, cause I aint gonna give up.”
Freeway Ricky Ross said that he is in the process of deposing a number of executives who were associated with Rick Ross, including Sean “Diddy” Combs and veteran executive Todd Moscowitz, who is currently President/CEO of Warner Brothers Records, which distributes Rick Ross’ Maybach Music Group.