Rosa Parks To Have Legal Guardian In Outkast Case

Former Detroit mayor to determine whether 91-year-old civil-rights icon is being fairly represented.

A judge has asked Detroit’s former mayor to act as legal guardian to Rosa Parks in her case against Outkast.

Former Mayor Dennis Archer would meet with Parks to review all litigation files involved in the two lawsuits filed on her behalf against Outkast’s record companies, for the duo’s use of her name in the 1998 song “Rosa Parks,” according to The Associated Press.

Archer, who is also a former Michigan Supreme Court justice, was asked Wednesday by the U.S. district judge to act as a temporary, independent guardian and to determine whether the 91-year-old civil-rights icon is being fairly represented.

Parks’ attorney Gregory Reed said Archer is a “person of high integrity and skillful expertise that may bring about and facilitate a settlement of the case.”

Last month, Parks’ doctor said that she suffers from dementia and should therefore not be forced to answer questions in the 1999 lawsuit which claims that Outkast and record label BMG Entertainment violated Parks’ publicity and trademark rights by using her name in the song (see “Rosa Parks Upset At Outkast For Unauthorized Use Of Her Name” ).

A second lawsuit, filed in August, claims that record companies including LaFace Records, BMG Entertainment and Arista Records misappropriated Parks’ name.

During a separate hearing Wednesday, a U.S. District Magistrate issued a $1,000 fine against Reed for his failure to produce documents related to Parks’ lawsuit. Reed has reportedly said that he released all documents, and has asked the magistrate to reconsider his decision.

Parks’ trial is set to begin in January.