William Hablinski and Richard Manion, Architects whose firms' design and supervise the construction of high-end homes in desirable neighborhoods, with the guidance and dedication of FBBC, finally achieves another judgment in the landmark Architectural Copyright Act litigation, this one against the former employee who stole their firms' home designs.
Hablinski's and Manion's firms have designed many of the large-scale custom homes that line mountainous Mulholland Drive corridor and exclusive streets in Beverly Hills, Bel-Air and Pacific Palisades (especially in the Platinum Quadrangle). The firms' commissions include the Mayfair condominium in New York City, Villas Del Mar Condominium in Pasadena, California and residences for Oak Creek Canyon Ranch in Montecito, California, as well as designs for such notable clients as Warren Beatty and Annette Bening, Arnold Scwarzeneggar and Maria Shriver, Jennifer Lopez and Ben Affleck, Jim Carrey, and Vanna White.
With the average custom designed residence at 20,000 square feet, celebrities, business moguls and the social elite turn to Hablinski and Manion to create elegant residences that rival the finest chateaus in France and villas in Italy.
After designing a custom home worth millions of dollars for Los Angeles real estate mogul, Fred Sands, Hablinski's and Manion's employees discovered a shockingly similar home seven miles to the west. Hablinski and Manion had invested more than 3,800 hours creating the Sands home and it was painful for them to see a copycat home just down the road, with the authorship of the plans being ascribed to their employee, Mehran Shahverdi. "I use original compositions and very distinct elements that are my signature to create one-of-a-kind homes," Hablinski said.
Hablinski and Manion had kept a design library that had taken more than 15 years to develop. They alleged that one of their employees had stolen a number of these original designs, in addition to the Sands design, from this library.
The case against their disloyal employee, Shahverdi, was eventually transferred to private arbitration, but a separate Federal case against his co-conspirators went to trial first. With the help of FBBC, Hablinski and Manion in 2005 first obtained, what at the time was the country's largest and only verdict against a third party contractor/homeowner who had conspired with the employee to infringe a single family residential Architectural Work--$5,900,000. Now, just recently, in 2010, FBBC also obtained an Award from the Arbitrator, confirmed as a Judgment, against Shahverdi for an additional $950,000.
The litigation and trial were handled partners Peter J. Bezek and Roger N. Behle. The arbitration was handled by Mr. Behle.