“How I Met Your Mother” star Josh Radnor should pay his neighbors $1 million for carrying out a series of improvements at his Hollywood Hills home in alleged violation of the terms of a longtime easement, an attorney told a jury Monday, but a lawyer for the actor said the plaintiffs deserve nothing and are interfering with her client’s enjoyment of his property.
The two sides made their remarks during opening statements in the Los Angeles Superior Court trial of Rancho Carlton Properties LLC’s lawsuit against Radnor, who bought his property in 2007 on hilly Bryn Mawr Drive, some nine years before Scott and Diana Anderson purchased the home next door. Scott Anderson is the registered agent of the family-owned Rancho Carlton Properties, which sued the 45-year-old actor in May 2017.
The Rancho Carlton Properties home was previously owned by former “The Hills” cast member Audrina Patridge, who is scheduled to testify Tuesday.
According to plaintiffs’ attorney Scott Macias, in 1965 earlier owners of the Rancho Carlton home granted an easement to the then-owner of the Radnor home to build a walkway and a barbecue.
But after he bought the home, Radnor demolished the existing deck, brick walkway and barbecue, built a larger wood deck, added a cantilever and seating area and converted the existing barbecue into a much taller fireplace.
The modifications were done without building permits and caused the easement to be terminated, Macias said.
When Scott Anderson tried to discuss the modifications with Radnor, the actor replied, “Please talk to my attorneys,” according to Macias.
The 34-year-old Patridge is expected to testify she never consented to the Radnor improvements and that she was working most of the time in New York and was not fully aware of the 2014-15 improvements until later, when she wrote Radnor a letter in February 2016 telling him he was in violation of the easement terms, Macias said.
Radnor has countersued Rancho Carlton Properties, asking that he be left alone and allowed to enjoy his property without interference from his neighbors. His attorney, Edith Matthai, told jurors that he made the improvements because conditions on the easement were unsightly and unsafe. She said there were termites in the wood of the previous deck and some of the bricks in the walkway were raised and could cause someone to trip.
“He renovated what was on the easement,” Matthai said. “He wanted the work done and he wanted it done correctly.”
Matthai chided the plaintiffs’ damages request.
“They want a million dollars from Mr. Radnor for using his own property,” Matthai said.
Radnor, the trial’s first witness, testified he did not know the easement existed until he received Patridge’s letter. He said he was unhappy with her allegations that his improvements had terminated the easement.
“I thought she had falsely accused me of doing something I hadn’t done,” Radnor said.
Radnor said he now has a better understanding of the easement and does not believe he terminated it with the improvements. He also said he did not try to avoid paying for building permits.
“I would have 100 percent paid for them,” Radnor said. “I’m not trying to get out of permits.”
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