Time for Katy Perry and fiancé Orlando Bloom to light the fireworks — the couple has cause to celebrate after a judge ruled in Perry's favor after a long and arduous house lawsuit.
Perry purchased a mansion for $15 million from 84-year-old entrepreneur Carl Westcott in 2020, eager to make the eight-bedroom, 11-bath property a family home for her, Bloom and their 3-year-old daughter Daisy Dove. But days later, Westcott reneged on the deal.
In the subsequent lawsuit, Westcott's lawyers claimed he was not of sound mind when he made the sale, and that Perry was taking advantage of a sick and elderly man. The trial essentially boiled down to this: was Perry taking advantage of Westcott? Or was Westcott using his alleged mental impairment as an excuse for seller's remorse?
A judge ruled on Wednesday in favor of Perry, stating that Westcott was of sound mind. Westcott had bought the home only a few months prior and had discussed a sale with other parties, including Maria Shriver. His $13.5 million deal with Shriver was reneged when both parties agreed Westcott could get more. Westcott, who founded 1-800-FLOWERS, also had separate real estate deals in the works.
"Wescott presented no persuasive evidence that he lacked capacity to enter into a real estate contract," reads the court's decision, which will become permanent in 9 days.
In a statement shared with People Magazine, Perry's attorney, Eric Rowen, said, "Today's proposed decision is clear — the judge found that Mr. Westcott could not prove anything other than he was of perfectly sound mind when he engaged in complex negotiations over several weeks with multiple parties to transact a lucrative sale of the property that netted him a substantial profit. The evidence shows that Mr. Westcott breached the contract for no other reason than he had changed his mind."
Westcott argued his mental incapacity had been caused by Huntington's Disease. He also argued that he had surgery in the days before selling the house and suffered from a lingering mental fog. But the court found his evidence lacking. His diagnosis was backed by a psychiatrist named Dr. Gary Small, who had never met Westcott before the trial.
Westcott's team also argued he was pressured into selling the house by real estate agents who sought hefty commission fees.
"Wescott's primary trial evidence on lack of capacity was the analysis and testimony of his retained expert, which the Court did not find credible or persuasive," wrote Judge Joseph Lipner in a document obtained by PEOPLE.
Lipner added: "On the other hand, significant evidence showed that Wescott had capacity to enter into the contract. This evidence includes the testimony of percipient witnesses who interacted with Westcott during the days he negotiated and signed the contract; Westcott's written communications during those same days, showing him to be coherent, engaged, lucid, and rational; and the medical reports of Westcott's doctors, none of whom found he lacked capacity to engage in any action before the sales contract or for over a year afterwards."
Perry isn't out of the woods just yet, however. The judge has split the case into two separate phases. Next, she will need to testify in a countersuit in February.
Westcott's son, Chart, said: "Katy Perry will now have to testify, in person, on damages and the contradictory claims she has made over lost income for the rental of my father's. While this has been a long road, the fight for my father is not over and we will continue to represent him and his legacy of incredible achievements."
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