Judge: Nick Gordon must pay Bobbi Kristina Brown's family $36M
ATLANTA -- A Fulton County judge awarded the family of Bobbi Kristina Brown more than $36 million in a wrongful death civil suit Thursday.
In September, Gordon was deemed “legally responsible” for Bobbi Kristina Brown’s death after he failed to appear in court.
Brown, the daughter of Whitney Houston and singer Bobby Brown, died in August 2015 – several months after being found unresponsive in a tub at her Roswell townhome. Gordon was her longtime partner.
The civil suit accused Gordon of assault, battery, intentional infliction of emotional distress, and transferring money from Brown’s account into his own without authorization.
Fulton County Superior Court Judge T. Jackson Bedford said because Gordon failed to appear twice, anything alleged by the plaintiff was admitted through omission.
The lawsuit sought $50 million in damages.
Following the series of testimonials from Bobby Brown, and friends of Bobbi Kristina, Judge Bedford assessed the damages and losses related to the January incident and to determine the value of Bobbi Kristina’s life.
“To determine the value of a life is pretty difficult. So the court has been back there primarily struggling with that particular issue,” Bedford said.
The judge awarded more than $36 million, broken down as:
- $1.575 million for money taken from the account, including alleged stolen rings
- $250,000 in punitive damages
- $1.37 million for assault and battery
- $13.8 million for pain and suffering as a result of assault
- $4.2 million in punitive damages
- $15 million for present value of life
David Ware, who represented the Brown estate along with Glenda Hatchett, issued a statement saying, “There was an urgent need, in my mind, to get justice for Bobbi Kristina Brown and that’s why I took the case. We intend to pursue, with all vigor, the full collection of the judgment. The Defendant will not escape justice nor ever profit from his misdeeds. We hope that in some small way this will allow Krissy’s family to continue their quest for peace.”
Hatchett added, “Domestic violence is a horrible reality in our society and Bobbi suffered such horrific pain and degradation at the hands of Nick Gordon, the man she loved and trusted. No one should suffer the way she did and the Judge sent a strong message in the award of punitive damages that this despicable behavior is inexcusable and will not be tolerated.”
Bobby Brown issued a statement through his attorney saying, "I am pleased with the outcome of today’s court proceedings. I do know that Mr. Gordon will be unable to slander my daughter’s name in the future or obtain any benefits from the use of Krissy’s name. Finally, I do need for the District Attorney’s Office to step up and begin the criminal prosecution of Mr. Gordon. The delay in that matter is of great concern to me and my family. We need for District Attorney Howard to act now.”
The ruling came after friends of Bobbi Kristina Brown were emotional on the stand.
Bobby Brown consoled his oldest daughter, LaPrincia, after she shared the tragic details of Bobbi Kristina's last days.
“I just miss her,” LaPrincia recalled one of the final moments she saw her sister in hospice care. “I played music to her a lot. I could see her eyes looking around the room. She would cough. She would yawn. It didn’t seem right that she couldn’t communicate. She’d blink and more tears could come. I feel like she could see me but couldn’t say anything.”
Autopsy results released in March 2016 indicated multiple drugs were involved in Brown's death, including marijuana, alcohol (ethanol), benzoylecgonine (a cocaine-related substance), benzodiazepines (medications used for sedation or to treat anxiety) and morphine.
Earlier this year, Gordon talked about the death on Dr. Phil show. After that interview aired, Bobby Brown joined the wrongful death lawsuit against Gordon. Brown was represented in the civil case by Atlanta attorney Craig Terrett.
Gordon has not been faced with criminal charges in this case.