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Shy Ordered to Pay $14 Million in 6th & Spring Case

By Eric Richardson
Published: Friday, November 13, 2009, at 12:13PM
Mercury Liquors Eric Richardson [Flickr]

This February file photo shows the disputed space at 6th and Spring that was to be the site of Mercury Liquors.

Controversial developer Barry Shy was ordered to pay over $14 million to restaurateur Andrew Meieran this week, as an appeals court reversed a lower court ruling that had reduced that amount to just $2 million.

The case centers around Mercury Liquors, a basement bar that Meieran had planned to open at the corner of 6th and Spring. Shy's residential conversion of the building above damaged the space, and the two have been in court for the last two years.

Mercury Liquors was to be the first of Downtown's bank vault bars. Set in the basement of the 1910 Los Angeles Trust & Savings Bank building at 6th & Spring, the bar by Edison creators Andrew Meieran and Marc Smith was often reported in 2005 and 2006 as being just months away.

Meieran had bought the 14-story building in 2000, but sold it to Shy in 2005 for $13 million. Meieran kept the rights to the ground-floor corner and basement bar space, while Shy began work on a residential conversion.

That work created water damage and mold in the bar space and rust on the vault doors, several of which were blocked by walls put in for seismic support.

The $14.5 million in damages and attorneys' fees was awarded in November of 2007, but was reduced by the trial court judge, who ruled that lost profits and business value had been improperly awarded.

On Tuesday, that decision was reversed by a three-judge panel from the state Court of Appeals, 2nd Division.

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