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Caruso to appeal ruling

Judge found that construction of the Americana led to recording studio¿¿¿s demise.

February 03, 2011|By Bill Kisliuk, bill.kisliuk@latimes.com

An Americana at Brand representative said the mall’s owner, Caruso Affiliated, plans to appeal a court ruling that years of construction at the site forced a nearby recording studio to close.

Los Angeles County Superior Court Judge Richard Rico on Wednesday found that Caruso and the city of Glendale effectively condemned Backroom Entertainment during construction of the 15.5-acre shopping center from 2005 to 2008. The studio, used by several rap artists and singers, operated at 230 S. Orange St. in a building now surrounded on three sides by the Americana.

The city used its power of eminent domain to acquire much of the property that became the Americana.

At trial, Backroom Entertainment owners testified that in 2005, vibrations from dirt compactors made it impossible to record music, and that subsequent construction activities drove artists away. The business folded in 2008.

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The judge sided with the studio and ordered a jury trial to determine the amount of damages the city and Caruso should pay. The studio owners are seeking at least $1 million.

“We are disappointed and disagree with the ruling by the Superior Court,” Matt Middlebrook, a spokesman for Caruso, said in an e-mail. “We will appeal [Wednesday’s] ruling. The tenants who brought this suit were on a month-to-month lease and were in full knowledge well in advance that a large construction project was planned adjacent to their recording studio. We went to great lengths to protect the recording studio’s interests during construction, and we did not drive them out of business.”

Before the company and the city can appeal, they must wait for the completion of the damages phase of the trial.

“We believe that the jury will conclude that we caused the recording studio no harm,” Middlebrook said.

Karen Larson, one of the attorneys for Backroom Entertainment, said Thursday that the jury trial will likely take place in March or later.

Larson said Rico’s ruling was a “well-prepared, 22-page decision. The judge took a lot of time to consider all of the evidence and made a very careful assessment.”

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