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Diddy settles lawsuit over claimed beating

N.C. man had alleged a backstage assault by bodyguards at 1995 concert
/ Source: The Associated Press

Sean “Diddy” Combs has reached a settlement with a North Carolina man who said the bodyguards hired by the rap mogul beat him after a concert in 1995.

Details of the confidential settlement reached Monday were not released.

“We amicably settled, and that’s all we can say,” said Herman Stephens, an attorney for Cedrick Bobby Lemon, who filed the lawsuit in May 2002.

According to the lawsuit, Lemon worked as a limousine driver and wore an identification badge that permitted him to stand backstage during a concert by Mary J. Blige in June 1995. Combs was Blige’s manager at the time.

As two bodyguards tried to clear the backstage area to escort Blige from the Joel Coliseum following the concert, they punched Lemon in the head, kicked him in the back and broke his right ankle, according to the lawsuit.

Combs was negligent because he failed to properly train the bodyguards, the lawsuit said.

On Monday morning, Combs’ attorneys Jack Strauch and Jonathan Davis had planned to start a hearing on a motion to dismiss the lawsuit. But after a lunch recess, Davis told Superior Court Judge Ron Spivey that the two parties had reached a settlement, ending years of legal wrangling in the case.

In 2002, Judge William Z. Wood Jr. entered a default judgment against Combs for $2.45 million because he failed to answer the allegations outlined in Lemon’s lawsuit within the time allowed. The judge later reduced the settlement to $450,000.

In June 2004, the North Carolina Court of Appeals voided Wood’s judgment and sent the case back to Forsyth County Superior Court.

Forbes last year listed Combs’ net worth at $250 million.