$10M in Punitive Damages Awarded in Katy Perry Property Suit

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Elizabeth DiNardo,
Legal Staff Writer

On December 1, 2017, a Los Angeles jury awarded the unlikely duo of pop star Katy Perry and the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Los Angeles a combined $10million in punitive damages against restaurateur and developer, Dana Hollister.

The suit concerns the sale of the Convent of the Sisters of the Immaculate Heart of Mary in the Los Feliz area of Los Angeles, California. The convent, which was built in 1930, is considered a prime piece of Los Angeles property with sweeping views of the city’s downtown and the vistas of the surrounding San Gabriel Mountains. The property is comprised of 19,000 square feet and contains 25 bedrooms and 29 bathrooms. In 2015, Perry attempted to buy the property for $14.5 million from the archdiocese with the intention of turning it into a private home. Around the same time, however, defendant Dana Hollister went directly to two of the remaining five nuns living on the property and inked a deal with the sisters for $10million.

In June 2015, the archdiocese filed suit to block the sale of the property to Hollister. In September 2015, Perry, through her company Bird Nest LLC, filed a cross complaint arguing that the singer had a valid contract in place with the archdiocese that gave her the exclusive right to buy the property. The plaintiffs argued, and the court ultimately agreed, that Hollister acted with malice when she interfered with Perry’s plans to purchase the property. The court found that the authority to sell the property belonged to the archdiocese and not to the sisters. The $10 million punitive damages award is allocated between the plaintiffs with two-thirds going to the Roman Catholic Archbishop of Los Angeles and one-third going to Perry. The Archbishop has commented that his primary concern is with the well being of the Sisters of the Immaculate Heart of Mary and has pledged that the women will be well looked after.

The case is: Roman Catholic Archbishop of Los Angeles et al. v. Dana Hollister, Case No.: BC585604, in the Superior Court of the State of California, County of Los Angeles.

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