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November 7, 2003
Rip Van Wepner

I know boxers tend to get a little slow in their old age, but this is ridiculous:

The boxer who was the inspiration for Sylvester Stallone (news)'s "Rocky" films plans to file a lawsuit against the actor for illegally using his name to promote the films and other merchandise, attorneys said Friday.

Chuck Wepner, 65, is seeking $15 million in damages from the right of publicity claim, said his attorney Anthony Mango. The suit will be filed next week in New Jersey State Court.

Uh, Chuck ... Rocky first came out 27 years ago, pal. Why the delay?

Mango said Wepner waited almost 28 years before filing the suit because he always expected Stallone to compensate him. "Stallone said there was going to be something in this for Chuck. But he was giving him shallow promises to placate him. Chuck took him as a man of his word, but then finally realized it was never going to happen," Mango said.

It took 28 years of no check in the mail before it sunk in that Chuck wasn't going to see a payday? I've heard about patience, but this seems a bit much. I'm no legal expert (maybe the Volokh Conspiracy can weigh in here), but I doubt a judge is going to be enthusiastic about endorsing a lawsuit filed more than a quarter-century pass after the injury occurred. The judge will probably see this as an attempt at building a retirement nest egg at Stallone's expense, which is certainly what it looks like from here.

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Posted by Ed Morrissey at November 7, 2003 9:06 PM

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