LA judge tosses out Bruce Makowsky lawsuit against Zillow

Makowsky sued over website’s “The Billionaire” listing

Los Angeles /
Feb.February 21, 2020 06:47 PM
A federal court judge in LA tossed out Zillow lawsuit filed by developer Bruce Makowsky (Credit: iStock)

A U.S. District Court judge in Los Angeles tossed out a lawsuit a company tied to Bruce Makowsy filed against Zillow, ending for now a legal battle over the developer’s fabled “Billionaire” spec mansion.

Judge Otis D. Wright dismissed with prejudice 924 Bel Air LLC’s claim against Zillow for negligence in a written ruling handed down this week.

The Makowsky-formed LLC claimed in a lawsuit filed last February that Zillow damaged the sales value of “Billionaire” because a user on the widely read real estate listings site repeatedly and falsely stated that the 38,000-square-foot property sold for $90 million.

Zillow pulled these posts and banned the user who made them, but not before, Makowsky argued, the property’s “elite status” had been damaged.

But the judge ruled that Zillow was plainly protected by the Communications Decency Act, a federal law that protects websites from being held liable for third-party postings.

“Reviewing each user’s activity and postings to ensure their accuracy is precisely the kind of activity for which Congress” intended the Communications Decency Act “to provide immunity,” Wright ruled. The judge later added, “The court does not find this to be a close case.”

Makowsky could not be reached for comment. Makowsky’s lawyer, Ronald Richards, told the Los Angeles Times that his client planned to appeal Wright’s decision.

The Zillow litigation added to the saga around “Billionaire,” a 12-bedroom, 21-bathroom home with luxury features including a room full of candy and a Louis Vuitton designed bowling alley.

Makowsy, who made his fortune selling handbags on the QVC network, first put the home on the market in 2017 — listing it at $250 million — at the time the priciest residential real estate listing in the country.

The handbag mogul then chopped the price to $188 million, and next to $150 million before selling the manse for $94 million last October, or $2,473 square foot — a 62 percent discount from its original $250 million price. The buyer behind the LLC that purchased the mansion is not known.


Related Articles

arrow_forward_ios
Nile Niami and The One (Getty)
Months after bankruptcy sale, The One spawns another suit
Months after bankruptcy sale, The One spawns another suit
Yvonne Niami and 301 Copa De Oro (Getty, Redfin)
Niami’s ex sells $27M Bel Air mansion
Niami’s ex sells $27M Bel Air mansion
500-512 Perugia Way  and Sean Rad (Getty, Zillow)
Yvette Mimieux dual estate sells to Tinder co-founder for $35M
Yvette Mimieux dual estate sells to Tinder co-founder for $35M
Howard Ruby (right) and the late Yvette Mimieux Ruby with 500 Perugia Way in Los Angeles (Getty, Zillow)
Century-old villa in Bel-Air sells for $35M
Century-old villa in Bel-Air sells for $35M
Daryl Katz with 1100 Bel Air Road (Katz Group, Redfin)
NHL owner puts unfinished Bel Air property on market for nearly $39M
NHL owner puts unfinished Bel Air property on market for nearly $39M
Doctor Paul Nassif and 1035 Stradella Rd (Compass, Paul Nassif, iStock)
Reality TV stars converge on Bel Air mansion
Reality TV stars converge on Bel Air mansion
Bel-Air estate, 150M
Bel-Air mansion with 360-degree view comes with $150M price tag
Bel-Air mansion with 360-degree view comes with $150M price tag
Hankey Capital's Don Hankey, Inferno Investment's Julien Rémillard and Nile Niami with The One (Hankey Capital, LinkedIn, Getty)
Creditors for $141M Bel-Air mansion battle for position
Creditors for $141M Bel-Air mansion battle for position
arrow_forward_ios

The Deal's newsletters give you the latest scoops, fresh headlines, marketing data, and things to know within the industry.

Loading...