LOS ANGELES — A judge has ruled that the widow of a man run over by a pickup truck allegedly driven by Marion “Suge” Knight can move forward with her wrongful death suit against the former rap music mogul while his criminal case is underway.
Lillian Carter filed the wrongful death lawsuit June 3 in Los Angeles Superior Court, naming Knight, Universal Studios Inc. and rappers Dr. Dre and Ice Cube as defendants.
Her husband, 55-year-old Terry Carter, was fatally injured when hit by a pickup truck allegedly driven by Knight during a Jan. 29 confrontation in the parking lot of Tam’s Burgers in Compton, where the hit movie “Straight Outta Compton” was being filmed.
Finalizing his preliminary decision issued Sept. 14, Judge Howard Halm denied a motion by attorneys for Knight to put the civil case on hold until the criminal proceedings are concluded.
The defense attorneys argued that Knight’s Fifth Amendment rights, which protect him against self-incrimination, could be jeopardized if depositions and other discovery are allowed to take place in the civil case.
But Halm said that on balance, it was more fair to allow the civil case to proceed, noting the plaintiffs’ attorneys’ counter-argument that Knight can be deposed without being forced to answer questions that might negatively affect his rights in the criminal case.
“Similarly, plaintiffs contend they will suffer prejudice if this action is stayed because resolution of this case will help them recover financially and emotionally,” Halm wrote. “The court also notes that if this action is stayed, plaintiffs will be unable to conduct discovery in connection with the other seven defendants named in the complaint until Knight’s criminal case is completed.”
“Straight Outta Compton” chronicles the rise of the gangster rap group N.W.A., which included Dr. Dre and Ice Cube as members.
The lawsuit alleges Universal was negligent by continuing filming in Compton after Dre warned the production to keep Knight away.
Knight, the 50-year-old co-founder of Death Row Records, has pleaded not guilty to murder in Terry Carter’s death.
Knight’s attorneys filed a similar motion to put photographer Leslie Redden’s separate lawsuit on hold for the same reasons, but Halm Sept. 15 tentatively ruled against Knight in that case, as well.
Redden alleges Knight and comedian Micah “Katt” Williams threatened and assaulted her in Beverly Hills in September 2014.