Chris Pitet Part of Trial Team That Obtains Victory for Luxury Real Estate Developer Mohamed Hadid
After six weeks of trial and four days of deliberations, a Santa Monica jury vindicated luxury real estate developer Mohamed Hadid, father of Bella and Gigi Hadid, in a decade-long dispute with neighbors over the development of a residence in Bel Air, California.
Plaintiffs Joseph (a founder of law firm Manatt, Phelps & Phillips) and Beatriz Horacek and John and Judith Bedrosian filed suit in 2018 claiming that Hadid had defrauded them and created a nuisance in connection with the construction of a luxury home located at 901 Strada Vecchia Road. At trial, Plaintiffs asked the jury to award them more than $26 million in damages.
In its verdict, the jury rejected Plaintiffs' claim that Hadid committed fraud or acted with malice. As to the nuisance claims, the jury, in a 9-3 split decision, awarded the Bedrosian Plaintiffs $300,000 in economic damages. The jury awarded the Horacek Plaintiffs $317,000 in economic damages and $2 million in non-economic damages. The award covered a fraction of the $9 million plus in attorneys' fees that Plaintiffs incurred to prosecute the case and bring it to trial.
Lead trial counsel Jeffrey H. Reeves of Theodora Oringher stated: "For many years now the Plaintiffs have been positioning this case in all manner of media – TV, social and print – as one based on fraud, malice and greed. Well, they just had six weeks to put before a 12-person jury the very best case they could put on to prove those things. They failed. After investing more than $9 million in an all-out litigation war against Mr. Hadid, Plaintiffs did not manage to convince the jury to even award 10% of the $26 million they were seeking as damages, much less get to a phase 2 trial on punitive damages. Mr. Hadid rightly sees this as an absolute vindication of his character and a positive step toward rebuilding his reputation that had been so badly tarnished at the hands of these plaintiffs.”
Trial counsel Christopher L. Pitet of Adkisson Pitet added: "The jury clearly saw this case for what it really was – an attempt to win a litigation lottery. We could not be more pleased with the verdict. Mohamed Hadid is a man of immense pride and integrity, and he could not be more grateful that the jury was able to recognize that with its verdict."
Finally, trial counsel Bruce Rudman stated: "At the end of the day, the plaintiffs lost more than they gained. Perhaps greed and over-reaching was their undoing. Mr. Hadid and his former long-time attorney James Zelloe, were burdened with proving a false narrative of fraud and other claims which should never have been brought. The jury did its job and saw though then most of the false narrative. No one really won here but we definitely feel vindicated. With prejudgment interest, the plaintiffs‘ claims seeking more than $26 million dollars would have been closer to $50 million dollars, plus potentially punitive damages. The jury has spoken."