A judge has ordered Marion “Suge” Knight to pay $107 million to a woman who claims she helped the rap mogul start Death Row Records, ruling Knight and his lawyers failed to answer questions and provide information in the case.
Superior Court Judge Ronald M. Sohigian ordered Knight and his companies, including Tha Row Inc., to pay Lydia Harris, who claims she is owed money from the recording label she helped establish.
The judgment includes $60 million in punitive damages, $45 million in economic damages and $2 million in noneconomic damages.
The judge issued the judgment earlier this month after finding that Knight and his lawyers violated court rules requiring them to answer questions by and providing information to Harris and her lawyers.
A phone call to a Knight lawyer seeking comment wasn’t immediately returned early Wednesday.
In her 2002 lawsuit, which didn’t reach trial, Harris claimed she and Knight in 1989 became equal founding partners of Death Row Records. When Knight realized how lucrative the label would become, he pushed her out, Harris claimed.
Harris said Knight defamed her in hopes of destroying her credibility in the music industry and with new artists.
“His conduct made it clear that he did not intend to honor his agreement or pay the shares of profit due her,” said her lawyer, David Casselman. “He also publicly insulted her and falsely accused her of promiscuity and incompetence.”
Knight has had a series of legal and criminal troubles.
In 2003, he was ordered to pay $5.5 million to managers of artists who accused him of stealing one of their acts.
Knight was released from prison in 2001 after serving time for assault and weapons violations. He recently served an additional 10-month prison sentence for violating his parole and striking a Hollywood nightclub valet.