'Freeway' Ricky Ross Vs. William Roberts Lawsuit Complaint: Top 10 Craziest Excerpts With Full Court Documents


MiamiNewTimes.com: Former drug dealer, Los Angeles-based Ricky "Freeway" Ross, has been threatening Miami rapper Rick Ross with a lawsuit for a while. But this past Friday his attorney, Melvin Sharpe Jr., finally filed the paperwork in the Los Angeles federal district court. Crossfade got its grubby paws on the full complaint, and it makes for a big eye-raising bundle of legal wordiness.


Of course, we can begin with the premise of the whole lawsuit: That drug dealer Rick Ross is being unfairly deprived of profiting off his image, thanks to the popularity of rapper Rick Ross. In compensation, dealer Ross seeks to prevent the release of rapper Ross' upcoming new album, Teflon Don, as well as half of all of rapper Ross' gross royalties, and further damages, totaling at least $10 million.


That's not all, though. The complaint itself is a mammoth, some 60-plus pages (the average trademark infringement lawsuit is, oh, six to 10). Then there is the equally long number of defendants. The list includes not only rapper Rick Ross (under his real name, William Leonard Roberts II), but also, as entities, all the labels on which rapper Ross has released music: his own Maybach Music Group, as well as Def Jam Recordings, Universal Music Group, and Slip N Slide Records.


Also a defendant: "Shawn Carter, an individual known as Jay-Z, individually, and as the former President of Def Jam Music." Jigga, the complaint says, should have known better than to let rapper Rick Ross infringe on dealer Ross' trademark -- which, the complaint admits, nobody tried to actually register until long after rapper Ross had gotten started in music.


Then, for good measure, the suit also names "Does 1 through 100." That's the plural of Doe, as in John and Jane -- in other words, this is a legal maneuver to add another still-unnamed 100 people to the lawsuit later.


Meanwhile, Judge Percy Anderson has duly issued summonses to Jay-Z (under his real name, Shawn Carter), along with Maybach Music, Def Jam, and everyone else above. A summons is an order of the court issued at the beginning of a lawsuit, given to the defendants along with a copy of the complaint. The defendants have 20 days to respond. If the lawsuit isn't dismissed or settled before it reaches trial, Jay-Z and all the other co-defendants (or their registered agents, in the case of the big record labels) will have to appear in court for the trial.


Below, read the top 10 craziest claims made by the lawsuit complaint. (The wording in bold is our own sarcastic summarizing of the actual complaint's text, which is reproduced verbatim -- strange punctuation, massive run-on sentences, and all -- in the block quotes.) The full complaint appears at the end of this post.


10. Jay-Z became a successful mogul only by helping to infringe on Freeway.

Defendant Carter a/k/a/ Jay-Z signed Defendant Roberts while President of DEF JAM and at all times relevant hereto, Defendant Carter engaged in RICK ROSS business with Defendants and Roberts, and Shawn Carter gained financially from using RICK ROSS' name, and he established himself as a successful rap music industry executive as a result of his RICK ROSS activities.

9. Bringing up old rap-industry Internet gossip is important, just to clown rapper Rick Ross.

In 1995, Defendant Roberts was a college freshman at Albany State U., GA who dropped out after a year then became employed as a full-time Dade County FL Corrections Officer in 1996 for almost 2 years, a fact Roberts denied publicly, when confronted by online urban media sites about his correctional officer past, and Roberts lied about being a C.O. until proof of his employment was produced, and Roberts misrepresented publicly he had a criminal past, false and misleading representations of past facts likely to cause confusion, and deceive the public as to his affiliation with Plaintiff, who objected to Roberts' use of his name.

8. A lot of this is really the result of a conspiracy between L.A. Reid and Jay-Z to hoodwink the "Black, urban crime, rap, entertainment 'public!'"

In 2006, and all times relevant hereto, Def Jam was controlled by Chariman Antonio "LA" Reid and then President Shawn Carter who conspired with Defendants to commercially exploit Plaintiff's name, and prior criminal image, for Roberts' benefit and use, and promoted William Roberts as "Rick Ross," by exploiting the name's commercial value with the Black, urban crime, rap, entertainment "public...."

7. Since Jay-Z has rapped on record about himself being a past drug dealer, he should have known better!

At all times relevant hereto, Defendant Shawn Carter represented that he wa sa drug dealer in the 1980's and 1990's before becoming a major top rap star, and he talked about his drug dealer past on TV and records, and as President of Def Jam by 2006, Carter knew or should've known about or been aware of Rick Ross and his crime story, his past reputation for being a major drug kingpin from LA, and popularity in the Black community in the 1980s and 90s....

6. "Rap music culture" is all about "urban criminals and dealers," so, again, Rick Ross should have known better -- and by the way, did we mention already that he was a corrections officer?

....Defendant William Leonard Roberts, II, who trades as, did business as and performed as the ex-drug-dealing rapper named Rick Ross, fraudulently with intent to knowingly deceive the public about his true non-drug correctional and law enforcement background, and Defendants joined the scheme by bankrolling him using Roberts' false Rick Ross name and image in commerce, which name was well known in criminal, drug and law enforcement circles that Defendant Roberts either knew of, worked in, or could have learned about while in college, in the rap music culture that emulates and idolizes urban criminals and dealers, in the Black community, or from his correctional officer employment in 1996, or any time thereafter when Plaintiff was in prison, but his name was in the news.

5. Dealer Rick Ross didn't bother to register his name as a trademark, but again, hey, it should have been protected as it was widely known for its "unlawful use in commerce."

Plaintiff Rick Ross didn't register his common law or federal trademark or trade name, but Plaintiff lawfully used his name in commerce beginning in 1999, while Plaintiff was still in prison, and his name and trademark "RICK ROSS" was first in commerce "lawfully" after 20 years of unlawful use in commerce, in 1999, as Plaintiff authorized commercial release of "100 KILOS," a major movie.

4. Rapper Rick Ross had to steal a drug dealer's name to be seen as legitimate because, until Eminem and Kanye West, no rappers without criminal backgrounds had ever really been popular!

...This false criminal image gained from using Rick Ross' name gave Roberts credibility in rap and helped sell music because in rap music prior to the success of Eminem and Kanye West, most rappers had, or claimed a criminal background that they survived, then rose to success [sic]....

3. Dealer Rick Ross wants to own the name associated with that "criminal background" because he now wants to use it for good, really.

Plaintiff Rick Ross had a bad and criminal identity attached to his name, but now he wants to control the usage of the name so that he can associate his name with the good and lawful purposes he intends to use it for, since he's out of prison and involved in entertainment and motivational speaking....

2. It's not just about the money -- Freeway's feelings are also hurt.

Injury to the Plaintiff's right of publicity is not just limited to present or future economic loss but includes humiliation, embarrassment and emotional or mental distress, and Defendants caused Plaintiff humiliation and mental distress.


1. Everyone knows the defendants have the big bucks, so cough up -- and nobody better release Teflon Don without getting this all sorted out.

WHEREFORE Plaintiff demands judgment against Defendants William Roberts, Carter, DEF JAM, UNIVERSAL MUSIC GROUP et al. in excess of $10,000,000.00, exclusive of interest, court costs, attorneys' fees, compensatory, punitive, statutory, and treble damages.... [As well as] other injunctive, equitable relief preventing Defendants from use of Plaintiff's name in Commerce ... [including an] asset freeze on Defendant Roberts royalties, [and an order to] prohibit Defendants' release of 2010 music projects in RICK ROSS name.....

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Carter Complaint Part 1 (061810)
Carter Complaint Part 2
Carter Complaint Part 3

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Tags: court, documents, lawsuit, rick, roberts, ross, william

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Comment by Zannie A.Turner on November 19, 2010 at 7:15pm
William Roberts concocted a gimmick to get paid by using a well established criminal profiled n**** to in turn establish himself as a certified "G". His first true banga was "every day i'm hustlin'" which is synonomous to the name "Rick Ross" & the b******* backfired in a major way when he started that dumbshit with 50. 50 pulled the n***** ho card & his costume got snatched off. Robert Williams should break the real rick ross off a care package on the strength of using a real n***** name to signify he ain't a complete fraud and start a reality t.v. show.
Comment by akini on June 26, 2010 at 5:58pm
thats retarted thats just stupid like honestly he didnt even use the guy real name cuz his name is ricky ross and like who f****** cares broke a** just trying to get some money and he looks really pathetic but then again he was probably somebody b**** in prison cuz honestly he is acting like a f****** b****
Comment by The Bizczar Sinista on June 26, 2010 at 1:13am
@C-Bop
Yes, this Ross case opens the door for that to possibly happen, but I doubt it will.
50's business sense would be on top of that situation.
Comment by LaCoy on June 25, 2010 at 11:36pm
N weather he change his name or not he still gone be cold n mafuckaz still gone call him Ross n 50 not f***** wit him in dat rappin s*** 4 now, until he out do "Get Rich or die tryin" he jus a Comedian
Comment by LaCoy on June 25, 2010 at 11:31pm
Man dis ol weak a** n**** jus want sum Money cuz since he got out he been broke wit his whack a** dnt get me wrong yea Rick Ross(the Rapper)shud respect da dude 4 what he did back in the day but dat was back then it 2010 cmon ppl lets grow up its all about da green nowadays, dat pu**y punk talkin bout his feelins hurt i thought he was a Gangsta if anything Rick Ross da rapper put his name out der 4 recognition 4 da youth da young kids dat ddnt knw anything about da dude n he tryna go at HOV u knw all he want is cash
Comment by KEIZER SOZE on June 25, 2010 at 8:07pm
the dudes gota right to sue I think
I mean you got some OBESE CB4 MC GUSTO mufucka stealing your name & getting paid. eve though its his music thats getting him whatever money hes getting he used a famous drug kingpins name aka stolen identity

I dont know if OFFICER RICKY should have to pay RICK ROSS
but
he definitly shouldnt be allowed to use his mae no more or ever again now that hes out he has his rights again

TEFLON was OFFICER RICKYS name back in the day right ?? when he was sucking GREG STREETS d*** + his new album named TEFLON DON so why not go back to that or atleast pull an MC GUSTO name steal on a drug kingpin or gangster/mobster whos dead & cant defend or dissaprove of it (lol)
Comment by Tron on June 25, 2010 at 6:56pm
officer broke assssssssssssssssssss!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Comment by billy bob on June 25, 2010 at 2:48pm
@jbbizzle man suck my d*** ain't no body trynna look cool u dumb f*** I don't feel life f***** typin the full word u dumb d*** I'm usin my phone dis da f***** Internet I ain't got time 4 grammar an all dat an u a stupid f*** cuz his government name da name on his birth certificate is Ricky Ricky Donnell Ross u a****** so if he could sue even tho it's a letter off then Noriega could sue noreaga u f*** dumb a** n**** watch ya mouth
Comment by billy bob on June 25, 2010 at 2:41pm
U failed to realize his name is Rick didn't mdidnt diddy get sued by a dude in England cuz he wanted to drop da p in his name an jus go by diddy there waz a rapper named diddy already dude name is Ricky Donnell Ross not Rick Ross
Comment by billy bob on June 25, 2010 at 2:38pm
But wat r u talkin about his mother ain't name him Rick Ross either she named him Ricky Ross



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