A jury Tuesday found in favor of “How I Met Your Mother” star Josh Radnor, who was sued for nuisance and trespass by his neighbors for constructing a series of improvements at his Hollywood Hills home in alleged violation of the terms of a longtime easement.
The Los Angeles Superior Court panel deliberated for less than an hour before finding in favor of the actor and against Rancho Carlton Properties LLC, a company founded by plaintiff Scott Anderson and his mother, Janice Anderson. Anderson and his wife, Diana, have lived at the Bryn Mawr Drive home since 2016, having bought the home from actress Audrina Patridge.
The 45-year-old Radnor smiled and thanked several of the jurors as they walked from the courtroom. Outside the courtroom, he declined to comment about the verdict.
According to plaintiffs’ attorney Sean Macias, in 1965 earlier owners of the Rancho Carlton home granted an easement to the then-owner of the Radnor residence to build a walkway and a barbecue.
However, after he bought the home in 2007, Radnor in 2014-15 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, Macias said.
The modifications were done without building permits and caused the easement to be terminated, said Macias, who recommended during his final argument Tuesday that the plaintiffs be awarded just over $1 million. Rancho Carlton filed suit in May 2017.
However, the jury found that Radnor did not demolish all of the prior improvements when he upgraded the items on the easement, a point his attorney, Edith Matthai, used photos of the property to show the jury when making her final argument.
Matthai also maintained Radnor made the modifications 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.
Anderson testified last week that when he tried to talk to Radnor about the modifications, the actor told him he would rather have the attorneys handle the problem.
Patridge, 34, also testified last week and said that when she wrote Radnor a letter about the easement, the actor responded with an intimidating correspondence written by his attorneys.
Patridge said she was pregnant at the time and that she soon decided she did not want to pursue the matter further.
“I felt it was aggressive and kind of stressed me out,” Patridge said of the February 2016 Radnor letter. “After that, I didn’t want to deal with it anymore.”
Radnor testified that he believes he had the right to make the changes on the property and that he did so to make the railings and deck surface safer. He also said he would be open to paying his neighbors for the exclusive use of the easement.
Macias said the easement is still considered non-exclusive under the 1965 agreement and that Judge Dennis Landin will be asked by both sides to make rulings on the remaining issues on Feb. 14.
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