– The judge ruled in favor of Katy Perry and Orlando Bloom in a legal battle with disabled veteran Carl Westcott over the purchase of a Montecito mansion.
– Westcott initially signed a contract with Perry and Bloom to sell the home for $15 million, but later claimed he lacked the mental capacity to sign the deal.
– The judge found no credible evidence to support Westcott’s claim and stated that he had entered into other contracts before and after the deal with Perry and Bloom.
– Perry is seeking $1.4 million in damages for potential rental income from the house.
– Perry has previously been involved in a legal battle with elderly nuns over another property.
– Westcott’s family is advocating for legislation to protect the elderly against financial abuse in real estate transactions.
Following a multiyear legal battle, Judge Joseph Lipner ruled that Carl Westcott presented “no credible evidence” that he lacked the mental capacity to sign the deal with Perry and Bloom in 2020.
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A Los Angeles judge has ruled in favor of Katy Perry and Orlando Bloom following a multiyear legal battle with disabled veteran Carl Westcott over the purchase of a Montecito mansion.
Perry and Bloom initially signed a contract with Westcott, who is the 83-year-old founder of 1-800-Flowers, in 2020 to buy the home from him for $15 million, just a few months after Westcott himself had bought the home for $11.25 million.
A few days later, Westcott had a change of heart and claimed he had been taking painkillers after a major surgery, which had impaired his mental faculties. Westcott has Huntington’s Disease, a rare neurological condition, and medical records shown at trial suggested he was showing early signs of dementia.
The tentative verdict that came down from Los Angeles County Superior Court Judge Joseph Lipner on Tuesday found that Westcott presented “no credible evidence” that he lacked the mental capacity to sign the deal with Perry and Bloom in 2020. Lipner’s verdict is expected to become permanent after a 10-day waiting period.
“The contract that Westcott negotiated and signed yielded Westcott a $3.75 million gross profit,” Lipner said in his decision. “Moreover, Westcott entered into other contracts shortly before and shortly after the contract at issue here. Westcott has not attempted to rescind any of these other contracts for lack of capacity.”
In addition to proceeding with the sale, Perry is seeking $1.4 million in damages to cover what she could have earned from renting out the house if the sale had moved forward in 2020. A February hearing will determine if further damages are appropriate.
Perry’s attorney Eric Rowen told Rolling Stone, “This proposed decision is crystal clear — the judge has concluded that Mr. Westcott was in full possession of his faculties when he engaged in complex negotiations with multiple parties to finalize the lucrative sale of the property, which ultimately brought him a substantial profit.
“The evidence overwhelmingly shows that Mr. Westcott breached the contract simply because he changed his mind,” Rowen added. “We eagerly anticipate resolving this matter during the scheduled damage trial phase set for February 13 and 14, if not sooner.”
Chart Westcott, one of Mr. Westcott’s children, said that Perry’s bid for damages from rental income contradicted previous claims in court filings that she was planning to live in the house.
“Perry has put herself in a box by claiming that she lost years of rental income and is owed damages, which is counter to her sworn statements,” he said in a statement. “We hope Ms. Perry enjoys her pyrrhic victory, as she explains to her fans about [taking homes from the elderly.]”
Perry has built a reputation for fraught encounters with the elderly over real estate transactions. In 2011, the singer tried to purchase a Spanish-Gothic-Tudor estate in Los Feliz that was occupied at the time by a handful of elderly Catholic nuns belonging to the Sisters of the Immaculate Heart of Mary. The sisters did not want to vacate the property, but because Perry was willing to buy the house in cash, Los Angeles Archbishop José Gomez insisted the nuns leave.
The parties became engaged in a legal battle for the property; in 2016, a judge ruled in favor of Perry, at which point she took occupancy of the home. The sisters continued to fight for ownership of the property, however, and legal proceedings came to an abrupt end when one of the sisters, 89-year-old Sister Catherine Rose Holzman, collapsed and died while in court for a post-judgment hearing related to the case.
Inspired by Perry’s real estate moves, Chart Westcott and his family are now advocating for legislation to protect the elderly against financial abuse in real estate transactions. The proposed act, called Protecting Elder Realty for Retirement Years Act or the “Katy PERRY Act,” seeks to “address the risks of elder financial abuse, especially as it relates to property and real estate sales and transfers. The Act establishes a 72-hour cool-down period during which either party involved in a contract for conveyance of a personal residence, in which one party is over the age of 75, can rescind the agreement without penalty.”
Property Chomp's Take:
In a groundbreaking ruling, Judge Joseph Lipner has put an end to a multiyear legal battle between Katy Perry, Orlando Bloom, and disabled veteran Carl Westcott over the purchase of a Montecito mansion. Perry and Bloom had initially signed a contract with Westcott in 2020 to buy the home from him for $15 million, just months after Westcott had bought it himself for $11.25 million. However, Westcott later claimed that he lacked the mental capacity to sign the deal due to the effects of painkillers he had been taking after a major surgery.
Westcott, who has Huntington's Disease, a rare neurological condition, presented medical records showing early signs of dementia. However, Judge Lipner found that Westcott presented "no credible evidence" to support his claim of lacking mental capacity. The judge's verdict is expected to become permanent after a 10-day waiting period.
The ruling is a significant victory for Perry and Bloom, as it affirms that Westcott was fully capable of entering into the contract. In his decision, Judge Lipner noted that Westcott had negotiated and signed the contract, which yielded him a $3.75 million gross profit. The judge also pointed out that Westcott had entered into other contracts before and after the deal in question, without attempting to rescind any of them for lack of capacity.
In addition to proceeding with the sale, Perry is seeking $1.4 million in damages to cover what she could have earned from renting out the house if the sale had moved forward in 2020. Further damages will be determined in a hearing scheduled for February.
However, the ruling has sparked controversy and criticism. Chart Westcott, one of Carl Westcott's children, accused Perry of contradicting her previous claims that she planned to live in the house. He also accused her of taking homes from the elderly. In response, Chart Westcott and his family are advocating for legislation to protect the elderly against financial abuse in real estate transactions. They propose an act called the "Katy PERRY Act," which establishes a 72-hour cool-down period for contracts involving the conveyance of a personal residence, where one party is over the age of 75.
This case highlights the importance of ensuring that all parties involved in real estate transactions have the mental capacity to make informed decisions. It also raises questions about the ethics and responsibilities of buyers and sellers in negotiating deals with vulnerable individuals. As the real estate industry evolves, it is crucial to prioritize the protection of all parties involved and to establish safeguards against potential abuse.