Court Watch - POSTED: 2008/05/09 10:14
A judge has reinstated a wrongful-death lawsuit brought by the family of slain rapper Notorious B.I.G., reversing an earlier decision to dismiss the case.
U.S. District Judge Florence-Marie Cooper threw out the lawsuit March 21 after determining the family missed a state deadline for bringing a claim against the city and two former police officers. The lawsuit was originally filed in Los Angeles Superior Court, then moved to federal court.
The family appealed, and the judge reversed her decision after finding federal claims in the case can proceed, according to court papers obtained Thursday.
Cooper gave the family 20 days to file a new lawsuit and drop the state claims.
B.I.G., whose real name was Christopher Wallace, was gunned down March 9, 1997, while leaving a party at a Los Angeles museum. The 24-year-old performer's killing remains unsolved.
Two wrongful death lawsuits were filed against the city on behalf of the rapper's widow, mother and two children.
The first lawsuit, filed in 2002, alleges wrongful death and civil rights violations. It ended in a mistrial in 2005. The case remains active, with the judge allowing the family to amend the lawsuit because of newly discovered evidence.
Cooper's recent ruling involved the secondary lawsuit, which contends that rogue police officers conspired to kill Wallace and that the Police Department covered up their involvement.