Pamela Koslyn, co-counsel for Kurupt’s former managers, said she had hoped for a substantial judgment to be handed down against Death Row and its co-founder Marion “Suge” Knight, and on Tuesday, she got it — to the tune of $10 million. A Los Angeles Superior Court, during the punitive phase of the case against the label and the gangsta rap mogul (in which they were found to have defrauded Kurupt’s former managers Lamont and Ken Brumfield) awarded the $10 million sum as an addition to the $4.3 million awarded last week in compensatory damages.
Lamont Brumfield’s management company Rapp Central Productions and Ken Brumfield’s Hoodsta-4-Life Publishing originally filed a lawsuit in 1995 against Interscope for conspiring with Death Row to induce Kurupt to breach his exclusive contract with the Brumfields. Kurupt had signed with the Brumfields in 1990, then signed with Death Row in 1993, despite his existing contracts. The complaint also named Death Row principals Knight, Andre Young (a.k.a. Dr. Dre) and Calvin Broadus (a.k.a. Snoop Doggy Dogg). When Kurupt went bankrupt in 1996, he voided all of his contracts and was dropped from the lawsuit. Dre was dismissed from the case before it went to jury, while Snoop was released from the case earlier. As for Interscope, which had been named in the suit due to its distribution of Death Row, the label settled with the plaintiffs before the initial verdict.
Death Row’s spokesperson said the label is disappointed with the jury’s award, and plans an “immediate” appeal. The label issued a statement to that effect, saying that “the jury chose a grossly excessive amount that is clearly not related to the facts of this case . . . Death Row also feels that the publicity surrounding Suge Knight and Death Row Records, both being from the street, adversely affected the jury’s decision.”
The label also feels that Ken Brumfield’s criminal conviction (he’s currently serving a prison term for cocaine trafficking) should have been entered into evidence, and had the jury known this information, “the outcome would have been vastly different.” Documentation supporting this claim is posted on Death Row’s Web site, www.deathrow2000.com, as an attachment in the statement.
Knight is currently in his fourth year of a nine-year sentence for a 1996 probation violation, for charges of assault.