Proposed 'Katy Perry Act' sounds 'pretty insulting', property lawyer says
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A property lawyer has slammed the proposed 'Katy Perry Act', calling it 'pretty insulting' towards the elderly.
The catchily-named Protecting Elder Realty for Retirement Years Act has been nicknamed the 'Katy Perry Act' as it resulted from a legal dispute involving the singer, a retired veteran and a $15 million estate in Montecito, California.
Eli Underwood is a property lawyer based at Underwood Law Firm in California, and has said that the proposed bill implies that elderly people are incapable of making decisions about their finances.
But what exactly is the context surrounding this bill, and what does it entail?
The dispute arose between Katy Perry and retiree Carl Westcott. Westcott's family is claiming that he was not of sound mind when he signed the contract to sell his estate for $15 million to Perry and her fiancé, Orlando Bloom, in 2020.
Westcott sold the Santa Barbara house to the celebrity couple when he was heavily medicated on 'several intoxicating pain-killing opiates' and actually 'did not want to sell his home', information that would render the contract void.
Perry is disputing this.
The 'Katy Perry Act' is a bill which would introduce a 'cool down' period of 72 hours after a contract of sale is signed when one or more parties is aged 75 or over.
This is the part which Underwood has called 'insulting'.
Speaking about the bill, he told UNILAD: "While it would be helpful to know more about the specific details in any final bill, it sounds pretty insulting to senior citizens as a group, and would make their lives substantially harder.
"Essentially, it lead to a presumption almost like they are incapable until they prove otherwise. Moreover, it would also make real estate transactions chaotic, as each new-counter offer could be considered it’s own “contract” and subject to a separate cool-down period.
He added: "I think they should be given the respect they deserve unless there is a specific reason to believe otherwise."
Underwood went on to explain the most crucial part of the case, which is the judge determining whether the original contract between Perry and Westcott is valid.
He said: A contract is valid only when both people consent, but a person’s consent is not 'real' when they are not of 'sound mind'.
"According to his initial complaint, Westcott claims that his age combined with a medical condition and medicine taken after a recent surgery show he was not of 'sound mind' when he signed the contract."
So, what exactly is at stake in this case? The short answer is a whole lot of money.
Underwood explained: "If Katy Perry wins, she would be allowed to complete her purchase of Carl Westcott’s home at the price they agreed to in the contract, $15 million, recover the monthly rental value for the property from the time the contract was signed up until trial, and be awarded her attorneys’ fees."
He continued: "If Carl Westcott wins, the contract would be voided, he would not be forced to sell his home, and he may recover his attorneys’ fees."
Finally, the lawyer shared some of his professional thoughts on the landmark case.
He said: "The timeline is very compelling for Perry, especially because it appears that Westcott had been negotiating to sell the Property for less before he underwent surgery.
"The testimony of the broker and other first-hand witnesses will be key. It shouldn’t be so hard to be a California girl."
UNILAD has reached out to representatives of Katy Perry for comment.