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Nicolas Cage Beats Lawsuit Over Sale of Leaky Home

A judge rules that the Hollywood producer who bought a Venice property from the actor should have sued much sooner.

Nicolas Cage
Getty Images
Nicolas Cage

Nicolas Cage no longer has to worry about the leaky home he once bought and sold in a Venice neighborhood.

It was a decade ago when the actor disposed of the property after discovering water intrusion, flooding and other problems. The unlucky buyer of the home was the family trust of Bradford Lindsley Schlei, who has worked as a producer on films including Swingers, The Killer Inside Me and Spun.

A trustee later sued Cage and others involved in the sale for fraudulently concealing facts about the defective property. But on Monday, a Los Angeles Superior Court granted summary judgment to Cage and the other defendants.

Cage's victory amounts to one of timeliness.

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The lawsuit was filed in 2009, six years after Cage got rid of the property.

By that time, Schlei had long been aware of moisture and drainage problems. In 2003, the buyer sent an e-mail that the sump pump was inadequate for runoff and that flooding had caused a warped floor in the basement. Within a year of buying, Schlei had observed the wood flooring becoming wet and asked the developer to repair it.

That put Schlei on the clock to file a lawsuit. He had three years to file a lawsuit before statute of limitations would run its course.

The plaintiff attempted to argue that the clock didn't start without "undisputable inference that the defect causing the drainage problem was a patent defect."

But the judge didn't buy it. On Monday, after a hearing, the fraud claims were dismissed.

So Cage is out.

During the course of this lawsuit, Cage's attorneys also attempted to mitigate any damage that might come by putting his deposition under a broad protective order. That led the plaintiff's attorney to object on philosophical grounds that celebrities not be treated differently in the court system as the rest of the population. Cage was able to plug any leak there too as his testimony was deemed to be private.

E-mail: Eriq.Gardner@THR.com
Twitter: @eriqgardner