Parks' Dementia Factoring In OutKast Suit
Civil rights figure Rosa Parks has had dementia since at least 2002, according to medical records released as part of a legal fight over an OutKast song titled with her name.Civil rights figure Rosa Parks has had dementia since at least 2002, according to medical records released as part of a legal fight over an OutKast song titled with her name.
Parks' relatives claim she never would have agreed to the lawsuit if she had understood it. The lawsuit filed by lawyers on her behalf says OutKast's "Rosa Parks" defamed her and used her name without permission.
The medical records, which a Detroit judge ordered released Monday, show a doctor's note indicated that Parks, 91, suffered from "progressive dementia," or severe mental impairment. The notes were shared with another doctor in October 2002, but the records don't show when they were written or when she was diagnosed.
Parks' guardian, former Detroit Mayor Dennis Archer, opposed releasing the medical records, saying they were private. The judge appointed Archer since Parks' family was questioning her well-being and understanding of the lawsuit.
"I'm not a doctor, but I know, dementia or not, my auntie would never, ever go to this length to hurt some young artists trying to make it in the world," said Rhea McCauley, Parks' niece. "As a family, our fear is that during her last days Auntie Rosa will be surrounded by strangers trying to make money off of her name."
Parks' lawyer first sued OutKast and record company BMG in 1999. A judge dropped OutKast as a defendant, and Parks' lawyers in August sued several record and distribution companies and stores that sold the song.
Defense attorneys for the record companies had requested that Parks testify in the case. However, Parks' lawyer said she could not because of her physical and mental state.
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