A North Carolina appeals court has ordered Jayceon Taylor, better known as The Game, to pay $5 million to 5 Greensboro police officers who accused the rapper of defamation. The Game lawsuit, originally filed in 2010, involves footage that appeared in a DVD entitled ‘Stop Snitchin Stop Lyin.’
The DVD included a “heavily edited” film recording taken while the rapper was being arrested for trespassing and disorderly conduct. It was then marketed as containing “the entire footage of [Taylor] being wrongfully arrested and brutalized by the Police in North Carolina.”’
The silly thing about The Game lawsuit is that the rapper and his attorneys lost during trial without even putting up a fight. Parties to civil lawsuits almost always send each other what is called requests for admission. When both parties agree to an admission, the factual statement is entered into the trial record as being true.
The Game’s attorney failed to object to or respond to the plaintiffs’ requests for admission, according to the appellate court. As is the law in most jurisdictions, those admissions were then judicially admitted into the record.
Together, those facts comprised enough evidence to prove defamation. Taylor inadvertently admitted that the footage “was intentionally misleading,” and that he intended to “characterize the Plaintiffs’ actions [in arresting him] as illegal.” The admissions also stated that Taylor intended to “defame the Plaintiffs with the DVD” and “injure [them] in their trades or professions.”
The appellate court agreed that it was proper for the trial judge to find in favor of the police officers on these facts alone.
So if you learn anything from The Game lawsuit, it should be this: don’t ignore papers sent to you by an attorney or court.
- $5M in damages upheld in Greensboro officers’ suit against rapper (WGHP-TV)
- Defamation, Libel, and Slander (FindLaw)
- ‘The Game’ Asks Court to Ban ‘Gangster Rapper’ at Trial (FindLaw’s Celebrity Justice)