Bird Marella prevailed in the highly-publicized trial against real estate developer Mohamed Hadid regarding the hillside mansion in Bel Air he illegally constructed. After years of hard-fought litigation, Bird Marella obtained orders to fully demolish the home (after first securing partial demolition), won a multimillion-dollar award in damages at trial, and defeated Hadid’s specious counterclaim.
Prior to trial, the firm obtained an order for demolition of the mega-mansion, which was affirmed by the California Court of Appeal in March 2021. The victories are monumental for Bird Marella’s clients — who have been unable to reside peacefully below Hadid’s derelict mansion for the past decade. The jury acknowledged significant damages were owed and complete demolition awaits the massive property that was found to be a public nuisance, and a danger to the community. In court, Bird Marella argued that the property’s foundation was unstable, unapproved, and non-compliant with city building safety codes, and “will fail in the event of a 24-year earthquake or a 10 to 20-year rain event.”
Bird Marella also secured the full dismissal of a specious counterclaim suit valued at nearly $30 million, in which Hadid alleged a claim for multimillion-dollar extortion against Bird Marella’s client.
Bird Marella principal and lead counsel Gary Lincenberg states, “The Horaceks and Bedrosians were heroes to stand up to Hadid, expose his criminal conduct, and the dangers of what he does in project after project. Despite Hadid spending millions of dollars to fight in court, a criminal court judge found him guilty of crimes, the judge in the civil case previously forced demolition of half of the illegal structure, and we obtained a court order to demolish the rest of it. Hadid’s false counterclaim was dismissed and a jury awarded millions of dollars in damages against him. If Hadid’s lawyers want to call that a victory, then be my guest.”
Lincenberg adds, “Over the years, Hadid‘s fraud and wrongdoing have resulted in over $100 million in damages ordered against him. His disregard for the law, and his history of trying to run away from his obligations, is not exactly something that any decent human being would boast about.”
Principal Ariel Neuman told the Daily News, “I see this as a major victory for us. The jury found in favor of our clients, finding that the home is a public nuisance and a private nuisance, and awarded significant damages.”
Bird Marella’s motion holding the City of Los Angeles accountable for permitting Hadid’s perilous construction is pending before Judge Craig Karlan.
In the wake of the Surfside condominium collapse, public scrutiny and concern with building code violations and building and safety enforcement is at an all-time high. In conjunction with the Court’s order to demolish the property, the jury verdict sends a message to Hadid and other developers that prioritizing profit over safety will not be rewarded in Los Angeles.
The Bird Marella trial team was led by principals Gary Lincenberg and Ariel Neuman, and included attorneys Shoshana Bannett and Elliot Harvey Schatmeier, and paralegals Pamela Moore, Tammy Dicks, and Rebecca Attarson.