Photo via Pixabay
Photo via Pixabay

Shopping center magnate Rick Caruso is being sued by two businesswomen who allege his Palisades Village project, aimed at revamping the Pacific Palisades shopping area, has all but driven out longtime existing businesses like theirs.

Erica Simpson, the operator of the Swarthmore Avenue skate shop and fashion boutique P2, filed suit Tuesday in Los Angeles Superior Court against Caruso Affiliated Holdings LLC as well as property owner Palisades Village Co. LLC and Palisades Village Holding Co. LLC.

A second complaint was brought the same day by Isabella Solis, co-owner with her husband for 28 years of Solis Salon that also is on Swarthmore.

The suits alleges nuisance, negligence, trespass and interference with prospective economic advantage. Simpson and Solis are seeking unspecified compensatory and punitive damages as well as an injunction directing Caruso Affiliated to stop engaging in the activities alleged in the complaint.

A Caruso Affiliated representative did not immediately reply to a request for comment.

Caruso, who also developed The Grove at Farmers Market in Los Angeles and the Americana at Brand mall in Glendale, has said that Palisades Village will have a Main Street-theme with an emphasis on walking.

It will span 116,000 square feet on Swarthmore Avenue and feature a movie theater, a food store and retail shops, as well as a small number of apartments.

According to Simpson’s lawsuit, she and her business have been “devastated” since work began on the project, which was given final approval by the Los Angeles City Council in June.

“While the future Palisades Village will undoubtedly afford its tenants an attractive atmosphere to sell their wares, Ms. Simpson will see her business destroyed by the construction being undertaken to create that shopping experience,” her suit states.

Construction is now taking place every day except Sunday, and debris and dust has damaged goods offered for sale inside P2, causing a “sharp decline in revenue,” Simpson say.

The Solis suit also claims that dust has damaged her salon and made it an “unpleasant experience” for her customers.

It is now nearly impossible to drive to P2 and the salon or park anywhere near them, according to the two suits.

In addition to financial losses, Simpson and Solis say they have suffered emotional distress.

“As the operator of a successful Pacific Palisades store since 1999, Ms. Simpson has poured her heart and soul into P2, making it a recognized, respected and well-liked shopping destination with many loyal customers in the community,” according to her vomplaint. “She is witnessing the destruction of her livelihood.”

The Solis suit says the salon was “built from scratch through hard years of work” by Solis and her husband.

The Simpson suit alleges that Simpson renewed her lease in reliance on Caruso Affiliated’s promise to pay her $100,000 and contribute to her monthly rent, but the company later withdrew the pledge.

The Solis suit states that she has suffered from sore throats and “repeated bouts of coughing” since construction increased this summer.

“Solis Salon will not last another two years while it is subject to continuous physical interference and damage,” the suit states.

—City News Service

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