A judge Wednesday put on hold all post-trial proceedings involving a Silver Lake businesswoman who filed for bankruptcy Tuesday, just months after she was ordered in 2017 to collectively pay more than $15 million in damages to the Archdiocese of Los Angeles and Katy Perry for interfering in the sale of a former Los Feliz convent to the singer.
The action by Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Stephanie Bowick means that hearings on Dana Hollister’s March 27 motion for a new trial and Wednesday’s scheduled judgment-debtor examination will be stayed indefinitely. A judgment- debtor examination is a court proceeding created by law where the party who has obtained a judgment in court is entitled to ask questions of the person who owes that judgment.
The judge set a status conference for May 8.
Archdiocese attorney J. Michael Hennigan said outside the courtroom that he was surprised by the bankruptcy filing, but added there could be an agreement by the parties later to lift the stay.
The jury deliberated for an entire day on Nov. 17 before reaching its verdict against Hollister for slander of title, interference with contractual relations and interference with prospective economic advantage. The panel awarded the archdiocese $3.47 million in compensatory damages and $1.57 million to Perry.
The jury also found that Hollister acted with malice, oppression or fraud, triggering the second phase of trial to determine if the archdiocese, the California Institute of the Sisters of the Most Holy and Immaculate Heart of the Virgin Mary and Perry should be awarded punitive damages. The panel awarded another $10 million in December.
Hollister made her purchase of the onetime convent with the cooperation of Sisters Rita Callanan and Catherine Rose Holzman, who maintained they had the authority to sell the Waverly Drive property to the businesswoman. Judge Stephanie Bowick later canceled the deal.
Holzman and Callanan are among five members of the institute and are the only members who oppose the sale of their former home to the 33-year-old “Roar” singer.
Kirk Dillman, who also represents the archdiocese and the institute, said Hollister could have ended things by filling out a quit-claim deed. Instead, she and those around her decided to press the issue further, according to Dillman.
The convent has been vacant since 2011 because it became too costly for the retired sisters to maintain and no longer accommodated their physical needs, and the proceeds from any sale of the property would go to the IHM Institute, according to the archdiocese.
After the archdiocese filed the first legal volley against Hollister in June 2015, Perry became part of the litigation when the sisters intervened in the case and named her as a defendant. The singer then filed her own cross- complaint.
The sale to Perry was for $14.5 million, consisting of $10 million in cash and an agreement to provide an alternative property for a house of prayer worth $4.5 million, according to the archdiocese. In contrast, Hollister paid $44,000 and agreed to a contingent promissory note to pay $9.9 million in three years, Dillman said.
–City News Service
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