Brown, the daughter of singers Whitney Houston and Bobby Brown, was found face-down and unresponsive in a bathtub in her suburban Atlanta townhome in January 2015. Gordon, who also lived there, and a friend were listed on the police report as being in the home when investigators arrived there.
The wrongful death suit said other people were there when Brown was initially found unresponsive. She was in a coma for six months before dying in hospice care at age 22 on July 26, 2015. Her death was similar to the way her mother died and drew worldwide headlines and the frenzied attention of the tabloids.
Whitney Houston’s body was found face-down in a foot of water in her bathtub at the Beverly Hilton Hotel just before the 2012 Grammy Awards. Authorities found prescription drugs in the suite and evidence of heart disease and cocaine in Houston’s body and determined her death was an accidental drowning.
Fulton County Superior Court Judge T. Jackson Bedford ruled in September that Gordon repeatedly failed to meet court deadlines in the civil suit. His order said that means the conservator of her estate wins by default.
Bedford on Thursday awarded damages of $36,250,000, the estate’s lawyers said in an emailed statement.
“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,” attorney David Ware said in the statement. “We hope that in some small way this will allow Krissy’s family to continue their quest for peace.”
Bobby Brown and his daughter, LaPrincia Brown, Bobbi Kristina Brown’s half-sister, were among the witnesses who testified at Thursday’s hearing.
The young woman’s family blamed Gordon, accusing him in the lawsuit of giving Brown a “toxic cocktail” before putting her face-down in the water. Gordon, an orphan three years older whom Houston had raised as her own, has not been charged with a crime. Brown had referred to Gordon as her husband.
Gordon wasn’t in court Thursday and did not have an attorney in the civil case, but his criminal defense attorneys, Joe Habachy and Jose Baez, had said in August 2015 that the allegations were baseless. They also said that Gordon is “heartbroken” and called the suit a “fictitious assault.”
Investigators with the medical examiner’s office were unable to determine exactly how Brown had died. An autopsy showed she had morphine, cocaine, alcohol and prescription drugs in her body. But the medical examiner couldn’t determine if she killed herself, if someone else killed her or if her death was accidental.
Dontaye Carter, a spokesman for Fulton County District Attorney Paul Howard, said in an email Thursday that Brown’s death is still under investigation.
Brown grew up in the shadow of her famous parents. She appeared with them in 2005 on the Bravo reality show “Being Bobby Brown” and attended award shows with her mother and father.
Houston and Bobby Brown were married 15 years before their relationship ended in 2007. Bobbi Kristina was their only child together.
In August 2015, family and friends gathered at a cemetery in New Jersey and buried Bobbi Kristina Brown next to her mother.
Bobbi Kristina Through The Years (PHOTOS)
1. Bobby Brown, singer Whitney Houston, and daughter Bobbi Kristina Brown arrive to Los Angeles on June 9, 1993.Source:Getty 1 of 22
2. Whitney Houston, singer Bobby Brown, and daughter Bobbi Kristina Brown attend Bobby Brown’s 25th Birthday Party on February 4, 1994 at Tavern on the Green.Source:Getty 2 of 22
3. Bobby Brown and daughter Bobbi Kristina circa March 1994.Source:Getty 3 of 22
4. Bobby Brown, singer Whitney Houston, and daughter Bobbi Kristina Brown arrive from New York City on June 18, 1995.Source:Getty 4 of 22
5. Mommy’s girl! Whitney Houston and daughter Bobbi Kristina Brown depart for New York City on July 1, 1995 at Los Angeles International Airport.Source:Getty 5 of 22
6. Singer Whitney Houston and daughter Bobbi Kristina Brown attend “The Preacher’s Wife” premiere together in New York City on December 9, 1996.Source:Getty 6 of 22
7. Whitney Houston, Bobby Brown, & Bobbi at the Beverly Hilton Hotel in Beverly Hills circa October ’98.Source:Getty 7 of 22
8. Daughter Bobbi walks the carpet with her mother Whitney Houston in March of 1999.Source:Getty 8 of 22
9. Whitney Houston with her daughter Bobbi Kristina Brown and husband Bobbi Brown onstage during a concert on July 16, 1999.Source:Getty 9 of 22
10. Whitney Houston kisses her daughter Bobbi Kristina Brown during the 1st Annual BET Awards on June 19, 2001.Source:Getty 10 of 22
11. Bobby, Whitney, and Bobbi pose for a flick at he 2002 VH1 Divas show.Source:Getty 11 of 22
12. Whitney, Bobby, and Bobbi smile during Praise Power in 2003.Source:Getty 12 of 22
13. Bobbi and Whitney wore all black to the 2009 American Music Awards.Source:Getty 13 of 22
14. Bobbi hugs her mother at the 2011 Pre-GRAMMY Gala and Salute To Industry Icons Honoring David Geffen.Source:Getty 14 of 22
15. Whitney Houston and her daughter Bobbi Kristina Brown arrive at Kelly Price & Friends Unplugged: For The Love Of R&B GRAMMY Party.Source:Getty 15 of 22
16. Bobbi Kristina arriving at Whigham Funeral Home for a private viewing for her mother, Whitney Houston.Source:Getty 16 of 22
17. Pat Houston and Bobbi Kristina Brown accept the Millennium Award on behalf of Whitney Houston onstage at the 2012 Billboard Music Awards.Source:Getty 17 of 22
18. Bobbi Kristina and Nick Gordon at the premiere of “Sparkle” at Grauman’s Chinese Theater in Hollywood.Source:Getty 18 of 22
19. Bobbi salutes the poster for her mother’s movie during the premiere of “Sparkle” at Grauman’s Chinese Theater in Hollywood.Source:Getty 19 of 22
20. Cissy Houston and Bobbi Kristina Brown attend “The Houstons: On Our Own” Series Premiere Party at the Tribeca Grand Hotel in NYC.Source:Getty 20 of 22
21. Nick Gordon kisses Bobbi Kristina Brown at “The Houstons: On Our Own” series premiere party.Source:Getty 21 of 22
22. Bobbi Kristina Brown attends the GRAMMY Gift Lounge during the 56th Grammy Awards at Staples Center.Source:Getty 22 of 22
(Photo Source: AP)