Marion "Suge" Knight has been ordered by a California judge to pay $107 million to a woman who says she has a 50 percent stake in Death Row Records.
Los Angeles County Superior Court Judge Ronald Sohigian awarded the damages on March 9 to Lydia Harris, who filed a civil lawsuit in 2002 against the Death Row Records head, claiming he owed her millions in unpaid profits and royalties, according to a report in the Los Angeles Times.
The suit claims Knight signed a partnership deal with Harris' husband, Michael, during the rap label's infancy; Harris' husband was incarcerated at the time in Los Angeles' Metropolitan Detention Center on attempted-murder and drug-trafficking convictions.
The investments the couple made in Death Row in 1989 helped the infamous music executive get his company off the ground, the suit alleges. But once Death Row started turning a profit and Knight realized Death Row's commercial potential, he pushed Lydia — the label's vice president at its inception — out. The suit also charges that Knight ignored his agreement with Harris' husband after inking a marketing and distribution deal with Interscope Records in 1992.
Knight later pressured Michael Harris into signing a $300,000 settlement deal with Interscope, the suit further alleges, where Harris agreed to release any legal claim to Death Row.
Knight has denied all of the allegations set forth in Lydia's suit, and, during an initial deposition, claimed he'd never even met the woman before.
But Sohigian's ruling wasn't based on any evidence either side presented during trial. The case, in fact, never actually made it that far. The judge passed down his ruling after finding Knight and his attorneys violated court mandates requiring that they answer questions and provide documentation to the opposing counsel during the discovery process, the Times reports.
Knight's lawyer declined to comment on the case.
This is the second major civil judgment against Knight in as many years. Back in 2003, he was ordered to pay $5.5 million to artist managers Lamont and Kenneth Brumfield, who accused Knight of stealing rapper Kurupt from them and cheating them out of royalties, according to the Times.