Oscar winner Nicolas Cage has lost a bid to have trial over a Venice home he sold with alleged undisclosed defects split into two, with the allegations against him decided last.
Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Rolf M. Treu -- noting he rarely changes his tentative rulings -- reversed himself and said all of the nondisclosure claims against the actor will be tried at the same time as the construction causes of action against the builder and numerous subcontractors.
Treu said Tuesday there would be no significant savings in cost and time to having the issues decided separately during the trial, which is set for July 22. The suit brought on behalf of filmmaker Bradley Lindsley by his family trust alleges Cage sold him a $3 million home in the Venice area of Los Angeles without disclosing that it had water drainage problems.
Attorney Paul Sorrell, on behalf of Cage, argued there would be no need for a trial on the nondisclosure claims if the plaintiff did not prove the construction defect claims. The attorney said the actor should not have to attend portions of the trial dealing with issues that had nothing to do with the allegations concerning him.
``My client should not have to be compelled to be sitting here,'' Sorrell said. ``The damages are completely different and the proof will be different.''
But plaintiffs' attorney Mark Scott said all of the issues should be decided in one trial phase.
``All of the witnesses are exactly the same,'' Scott said.
The trust originally sued the developer, the Lee Group, in May 2009. It then added Cage -- whose well-publicized real estate woes include sales of some of his other homes at drastically reduced prices -- as a defendant, as well as the actor's former business manager, Samuel Levin, and real estate adviser, Richard Nazarian.
The suit alleges fraud and negligent non-disclosure by Cage. Lawyers for Levin and Nazarian joined with Cage's attorneys in asking for a two-phase trial.
Numerous cross-complaints have developed out of the original complaint. Levin sued Cage in February 2011, contending the ``Leaving Las Vegas'' star is bound by an agreement to pay for his attorneys' fees and cover any financial losses he may suffer if sued in connection with his role as a co-trustee of the Hancock Park Real Estate Trust, a legal mechanism through which Cage holds title to property.
Levin resigned from his co-trustee role three years ago and maintains Cage did not follow up on his obligations to him after Lindsley bought the home from the actor nine years ago.
Nazarian, owner of The Nickel Co., sued Cage and Levin. He wants both ordered to pay at least part of any judgment against him, as well as his attorneys' fees.
Cage, 49, bought one of two single-family homes the Lee Group built adjacent to each other on Ocean Front Walk in November 2002, according to the complaint.
Other cross-complaints have been filed for and against various sub- contractors who worked on the home.
Lindsley alleges that some time after Cage moved into the home, the actor and his neighbor in the other Lee Group residence had problems with flooding and informed the developers. But when Lindsley bought the house from Cage in May 2003, the actor did not tell him about the defects, according to the complaint.
When another man expressed interest in the property before Lindsley did and found out about the drainage problems, he canceled escrow, according to the suit.