A federal judge has reinstated a wrongful death lawsuit brought against Los Angeles city officials by the family of slain rapper Notorious B.I.G. - five months after the case was originally thrown out of court.

In December, U.S. District Judge Florence Marie Cooper ruled the rap star's family members did not file a claim against the city and a disgraced Los Angeles cop, believed to be involved with the 1997 murder, by an agreed deadline.

The lawsuit alleged a former police detective and two partners were responsible for the drive-by shooting death of the rapper - real name Christopher Wallace.

But, according to court papers revealed on Thursday, the Wallace family successfully appealed, and now Cooper is giving them another chance to file a new lawsuit - as long as the paperwork is completed within 20 days.

This is the second time the Wallace family have tried to hold L.A. authorities to account for B.I.G.'s untimely demise - a judge declared a mistrial in a 2002 wrongful death case after learning Los Angeles police officials had withheld evidence.

The 24-year-old's death remains unsolved.