Rap impresario Sean "P. Diddy" Combs has been ordered by a judge to pay $2.45 million in damages to a man who says he was injured by Combs' bodyguards at a Winston-Salem, N.C., concert in 1995.

Rap impresario Sean "P. Diddy" Combs has been ordered by a judge to pay $2.45 million in damages to a man who says he was injured by Combs' bodyguards at a Winston-Salem, N.C., concert in 1995. Judge William Z. Wood of North Carolina's Forsyth County Civil Superior Court ordered that Combs pay Cedrick Bobby Lemon, who said in a lawsuit that he was beaten by two bodyguards hired by Combs to protect R&B singer Mary J. Blige at Joel Coliseum.

Wood ordered the payment Sept. 10 because Combs didn't answer the allegations in Lemon's lawsuit against him within a 30-day time limit proscribed by state law, according to court records. Combs or his attorneys had until July 30 to file a response to Lemon's complaint. Wood said that once the lawsuit was filed, Combs had time to answer the accusation, either in writing or appearing in person at a court hearing, or having someone answer for him at the hearing.

Combs declined to accept a civil summons about the matter from a Forsyth County deputy when he appeared at the Greensboro Coliseum on June 21 to perform in a concert, court records show. Combs has residences in New York and Los Angeles, but Lemon's attorney, Herman Stephens, said yesterday (Sept. 17) that he could not find Combs and his associates to present them with his client's lawsuit.

Late yesterday, a spokesperson for Combs, issued a short statement. "We have just learned of this lawsuit," the statement said. "As it has no merit whatsoever, we intend to take all necessary steps to have it dismissed." Stephens said that Lemon believes that Wood's ruling is appropriate, but "he's not ecstatic yet because he has not received any money."

Lemon's lawsuit alleged that Combs was Blige's manager when she performed at Joel Coliseum. Lemon was working at the coliseum as a limousine driver, and he was wearing an identification badge that permitted him to stand backstage.

After Blige performed, she returned to her dressing room. The guards left Blige's dressing room and tried to clear the back stage to allow Blige to leave the coliseum. According to Lemon's accout, guards punched him in the head. Lemon stumbled and grabbed one of the guards, and both men fell to the floor. At that point, the guards kicked Lemon in the back as he tried to shield his head with his hands and arms. The other guard stomped on Lemon's right ankle at least twice.

Lemon alleges that he suffered emotional and mental distress after the attack. He had a broken right ankle and bruised left hand, and was treated at Wake Forest University Baptist Medical Center.


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