Death Row Records founder Suge Knight’s legal problems continue to hinder the advancement of his once reigning empire. The most recent lawsuit against Knight involves woman who claims she helped found the label’s start.
According to Reuters, a Los Angeles judge has ordered Knight to pay Lydia Harris $47 million in economic and non-economic damages, and $60 million in punitive damages, due to a March 9th order.
Judge Ronald Sohigian issued the default judgement, due to Knight and his counsel failing to comply with his order to share evidence with Harris and her attorneys in preparation for trial.
In the suit, Harris alleges that in 1989, she and Knight became equal founding partners of the music label and that, when he recognized its money-making potential, he pushed her out of the business. She also alleges that Knight defamed her in hopes of destroying her credibility within 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,” attorney David Casselman, who represents Harris, told the LATimes.com. “He also publicly insulted her and falsely accused her of promiscuity and incompetence.”
According to her attorney, Harris’ position at Death Row was Vice President during its inception, but was removed later without her knowledge of consent.
In 1997, Harris’ spouse, Michael “Harry-O” Harris, told the LA Times, that he invested nearly $1.5 million into a company called GF Entertainment in 1997, which included a record division called Death Row.
According to MTV, Knight has denied all of the allegations from Harris’ suit, and, during an initial deposition, claimed he’d never even met the woman before.