Katy Perry wins lawsuit; nuns must pay up

Katy Perry and the Los Angeles (LA) archbishop have been awarded a combined $10 million in punitive damages by a jury over the sale of a Los Feliz convent.

The sale was contested in Los Angeles Superior Court by LA-based designer and restaurateur Dana Hollister and a group of elderly nuns.

American singer and songwriter Perry agreed to purchase the convent in 2015 from the Sisters of the Most Holy and Immaculate Heart.

However two nuns, Sisters Rita Callanan and Catherine Rose Holzman, then said they had already sold the property to Hollister, who planned to turn it into a boutique hotel.

While Perry had agreed to pay US$14.5 million immediately for the eight-acre property, Hollister paid US$44,000 with an agreement to pay a further US$9.9 million after three years.

In media interviews, the two nuns registered disapproval of Perry, who is known for her flamboyant outfits and stage presence.

“I found Katy Perry and I found her videos, and…if it’s all right to say, I wasn’t happy with any of it,” Sister Rita Callanan told the Los Angeles Times.

Their opposition came despite overtures from Perry.

After making her offer, Perry — a pastor’s daughter — reportedly met with the nuns, showed them her tattoo of Jesus on her wrist and even performed the church hymn “Oh Happy Day”.

A Superior Court judge earlier this year found that the sisters did not have proper authority to make the sale.

The judge’s decision was based partly on evidence that the nuns had not secured approval from the Vatican.

In November, a jury said Hollister should have known that.

The jury found that Hollister had deliberately interfered with the sale of the property and punitive damages were warranted.

Besides the $5 million in legal fees Hollister will have to pay, she will also have to give $6.7 million to the Church and another $3.3 million to Perry’s company.

Perry’s manager says the singer had spent around $2.6 million fighting for the property.

In a statement to Billboard, Perry’s attorney Eric Rowen said: “justice has been well served”.

“Katy is extremely pleased with the jury’s insight and understanding, and is hopeful that the jury’s decision will pave the way for her to complete the purchase of the Waverly property without further interference,” he said.

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News category: World.

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