Dr. Dre and Ice Cube have filed a motion asking a judge to remove them as defendants in a wrongful death lawsuit, stemming from the incident when rap mogul Suge Knight ran over and killed a man named Terry Carter earlier this year. The suit, which Carter’s widow Lilian filed in June, alleged that the N.W.A rappers should be held accountable for the incidents that led up to the Compton businessman’s death. The rappers and current Rolling Stone cover stars claim, however, that they “did not create undue risks for anyone, let alone Carter,” according to The Hollywood Reporter.
Carter’s lawsuit said the rappers and Straight Outta Compton producers should have attempted to make a safe environment on set, given the hostilities between Knight and Dr. Dre, and that they should be held “vicariously liable” – a secondary form of liability – for the actions of one of the film’s technical advisors, Cle “Bone” Sloan. The complaint claims that Knight, who was reportedly unhappy with his portrayal in the movie, confronted Sloan, who turned him away from the set during the making of a commercial for the film. Dre, THR reports, has a restraining order against Knight.
Carter, who cofounded record label with Ice Cube in 1998 and was known by friends as a “peacemaker,” attempted to meet with Knight at a fast-food restaurant’s parking lot, according to the paperwork, after hearing the mogul had been turned away. Sloan showed up and sparked an argument with Knight from the set, allegedly prompting the former Death Row chief to try to run him over, injuring Sloan and killing Carter in the process.
Dr. Dre and Ice Cube said in their motion that they committed no malfeasance and that their only role in the matter was giving Sloan a “specific request” to ask Knight to leave. “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,” the rappers’ paperwork said. “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 hip-hop artists’ lawyer, Alexander Cote, said there was no “proximate cause” connecting his clients to Carter’s death.
Knight is currently awaiting trial on murder charges for Carter and attempted murder for Sloan. In May, he sought to have the charges dismissed because Sloan refused to identify him, but in July a judge denied the motion. Dre previously commented to The Hollywood Reporter that he didn’t hear what happened until he was almost home and that maybe Knight was “looking for trouble.” “It’s just a really unfortunate incident,” he said.
Since its release last Friday, Straight Outta Compton has become a blockbuster. The film grossed an estimated $60 million in its opening weekend.