Terry Norris Lawsuit
Terry Norris filed a $64.5 million lawsuit against Sayatovich and promoter Don King in May 1997.
Norris asked the court to nullify a "horribly one-sided and unfair" contract that Sayatovich allegedly misled him into signing.
The contract gave Norris "only illusory compensation" for a championship match and bound him to King for virtually the rest of his career, court papers stated.
Norris signed the contract in October 1996 "because Mr. Sayatovich and Mr. King lied to him," according to papers filed in Manhattan's State Supreme Court.
Norris thought the contract gave him a championship fight with Felix Trinidad in June 1997 with a guarantee of $1.5 million, court papers alleged, but the agreement actually said nothing about when a match would occur.
The contract also allowed King to keep Norris from fighting, without pay, indefinitely, court papers stated. "It's an unconscionable transaction," said Norris's lawyer, Jay Goldberg. "He could put you in the shelf for years."
Sayatovich violated his fiduciary duty by having Norris sign such a contract—without a lawyer's advice—while Sayatovich had a secret financial deal with King, the lawsuit said.
The suit named King, Don King Productions Inc. and Sayatovich as defendants. It asked compensatory and punitive damages of $61.5 million against King and his company, and $3 million against Sayatovich. The suit also asked the court to declare the agreement between King and Norris void and unenforceable.
Norris settled out of court for $7.5 million in December 2003. The settlement prevented any finding of wrongdoing in the matter.
After closing arguments, but before the jury rendered its verdict, jurors returned to the courtroom and asked the judge for a calculator and a magnifying glass. The settlement came soon afterward.