Appeals court throws out suit over Eminem lyrics. Judges reject defamation bid by man the rapper named as a childhood bully who antagonized him in song ''Brain Damage''

By Gary Susman
April 18, 2005 at 04:00 AM EDT

Eminem’s 23-year battle with a childhood nemesis is finally over. On Friday, a Michigan appeals court upheld a lower court ruling dismissing a suit against the rapper filed by DeAngelo Bailey, who said that Eminem had violated his privacy and defamed him in his 1999 song ”Brain Damage.” The Associated Press reports that a three-judge appeals panel ruled unanimously that the song’s lyrics, in which Eminem raps that Bailey used to ”shove me into the lockers” every day and ”banged my head against the urinal ’til he broke my nose,” were clearly too exaggerated to be taken literally, and that Bailey’s suit failed to present a genuine factual issue.

Bailey, currently a sanitation worker, had admitted picking on the young Marshall Mathers when they were in elementary school together, though according to AP, he said he’d merely ”bumped” Mathers and had given him a ”little shove.” In fact, Eminem’s mother sued the Roseville, Mich., school board in 1982 for allegedly failing to protect her son against frequent Bailey beatings, though the suit was dismissed on the grounds of governmental immunity.

Filed in 2001, Bailey’s suit was dismissed in 2003 by Macomb County Judge Deborah Servitto, who included in her written ruling a 36-line rap verse. (Sample couplets: ”Any reasonable person could clearly see/that the lyrics could only be hyperbole… It is therefore this Court’s ultimate position, that Eminem is entitled to summary disposition.”) With the appeals court upholding her ruling, Bailey’s attorney, Byron Nolen, told AP he would not file another appeal to take the case to the Michigan Supreme Court.