Tupac Libel Case Against Philly Papers Rejected by Supreme Court

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The Supreme Court declined Monday to revive a libel lawsuit filed against two Philadelphia newspapers by a critic of violent rap lyrics.

Longtime civil rights activist C. DeLores Tucker, who died last year, accused the papers of mischaracterizing her dispute with the estate of slain rapper Tupac Shakur and others. Shakur wrote lyrics that rhymed Tucker’s name with an obscenity.

Tucker had sued Shakur, alleging, among other things, that her husband, William Tucker, had suffered loss of “consortium” because of the emotional distress brought on by Shakur.

The Philadelphia Daily News and The Legal Intelligencer, a daily newspaper covering legal affairs in Philadelphia, were among the news organizations that reported on the lawsuit and interpreted loss of consortium to mean harm to the Tuckers’ sex life. Tucker said the claim had nothing to do with sex, but with “advice, society, companionship, i.e., defendants’ effect upon the ‘family union.'”

William Tucker pursued a libel suit on his and his late wife’s behalf. Pennsylvania state courts dismissed the libel claims.

The Supreme Court previously rejected Tucker’s appeal in a similar libel case against Time and Newsweek magazines. The original lawsuit against Tupac’s estate also was dismissed.

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