LEGAL NEWS: Just in time for the Academy Awards… Lawyer Portrayed in “Wolf of Wallstreet” Files $25M Defamation Lawsuit

Article By Debra Cassens Weiss, ABA Journal, Feb 2014


A lawyer who says he was portrayed as a drug-using, toupee-wearing character in the Wolf of Wall Street had filed a lawsuit seeking $25 million for alleged defamation.

Lawyer Andrew Greene says he was portrayed as the character Nicky “Rugrat” Koskoff in the film, making him look like “a criminal, drug user, degenerate, depraved, and/or devoid of any morality or ethics.” In addition to damages, he wants the movie to be pulled from theaters. 

Greene is currently an inactive member of the California bar and once headed the corporate finance department at securities brokerage firm Stratton Oakmont. The movie is based on a memoir by brokerage firm founder Jordan Belfort, which used Greene’s name. The movie used a different name, but Greene says it’s “readily apparent” that he is the Rugrat character, the suit says.

The movie portrays Rugrat using cocaine on company premises, facilitating money laundering, having sex with a prostitute, and shaving a woman’s head after she was offered $10,000. The movie damaged Greene’s reputation, the suit says, by portraying him as “a criminal and drug user with misogynistic tendencies.”

The film also mocks Greene’s toupee in an “egregiously offensive manner,” the suit says. The lawsuit alleges defamation, libel per se, violation of a common law right to control the commercial use of one’s image, and violation of New York civil rights law, which is akin to a publicity rights statute, according to the Hollywood Reporter.

One of Greene’s lawyers, Aaron Goldsmith, told the New York Post that Greene “worked diligently to create an environment of regulatory compliance and oversight at Stratton Oakmont.”