A man who unsuccessfully sued Fat Joe and Remy Ma over allegations that he helped create the 2016 hit “All the Way Up” is now heading to a federal appeals court in an effort to revive his lawsuit.
Eric Elliott claims he co-authored the song and has been cheated out of proper compensation and ownership rights, but a federal judge ruled last month that there was “no dispute” that Fat Joe had already paid him for his alleged contributions to the song.
On Friday, Elliott signaled that the battle isn’t over just yet. He filed a notice that he will appeal the ruling to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit, a process that could take more than a year. His specific arguments are not yet available, but will be filed in court in the coming months.
Elliott is represented in the case and on the upcoming appeal by Francis Malofiy of Francis Alexander LLC, an attorney who gained notoriety for representing a man who unsuccessfully accused Led Zeppelin of stealing “Stairway To Heaven” from an earlier song.
Released on March 2, 2016, by Fat Joe and Remy Ma featuring French Montana and Infared, “All the Way Up” was a top 10 hit on Billboard’s Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs chart and peaked at No. 27 on the Billboard Hot 100.
Elliott – who uses the stage name Fly Havana – sued in 2019, claiming he had co-created the song in late 2015 during a studio session with Infared, who then took the unfinished track and added contributions by Fat Joe, Remy Ma and French Montana.
When he later demanded credit, Elliott said he was told to meet Fat Joe at a Miami IHOP, where he was offered $5,000 and pressured to sign a document. He said he eventually did so, because he felt intimidated by the rapper’s “reputation on the street” and because Fat Joe assured him he would receive more compensation later.
“Mr. Elliott had no idea that Fat Joe had told him a series of lies calculated to deceive Plaintiff, designed to relax his vigilance, and lull him in to a false sense of security,” he wrote at the time. “He would never have taken the $5,000 or signed any document had he any inkling he was being double crossed.”
But in a ruling on Jan. 5, U.S. District Judge Naomi Reice Buchwald ruled that it did not matter why hwe had signed the contract, nor that he had later become unhappy with the sum he received.
“Elliott’s retrospective frustration at the amount of money notwithstanding, there is no dispute that Elliott signed the contract, assigning his rights to the song, while simultaneously receiving the $5,000 check from Fat Joe in exchange,” the judge wrote.
In addition to Fat Joe and Remy Ma – real names Joseph Anthony Cartagena and Reminisce Smith Mackie – the lawsuit also named a slew of other individual defendants, including French Montana (Karim Kharbouch), Infared (Shandel Green) and various entities involved in the song, including Warner/Chappell Music Inc.
The defendants are represented by Eleanor Lackman and other attorneys from Mitchell Silberberg & Knupp LLP.