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Death Row Loses Appeal on $5.5-Million Judgment

August 25, 2003|Chuck Philips | Times Staff Writer

Jailed rap mogul Marion "Suge" Knight suffered another legal setback Friday when the state appellate court upheld a $5.5-million judgment against his Death Row Records label.

The ruling stems from a lawsuit filed in March 2000 by artist managers Lamont and Kenneth Brumfield. The pair accused Knight of stealing one of their rap acts, Ricardo "Kurupt" Brown, and cheating them out of royalties. During the 1990s, Kurupt appeared on such Death Row hit CDs as "The Chronic" and performed as a member of the label's Dogg Pound duo.

The case went to trial in April 2001 and a jury ruled against Knight, awarding the Brumfields $14 million in damages. A judge reduced the verdict to $5.5 million. Knight's lawyers appealed.

The appellate ruling follows another lawsuit filed Tuesday by the law firm Kopple & Klinger, which accused Knight of fraudulently selling or giving away property to avoid paying $142,000 in fees to them for past services. A judge had ordered Knight in May 2002 to pay $142,000 to the firm.

Knight, jailed on a parole violation since June 27, was unavailable for comment. Two weeks ago, the state parole board sent the rap entrepreneur back to prison for striking a Hollywood nightclub valet.

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