Billy Joel has seen a sensational career in music. The star composer, singer-songwriter, and pianist and has the nickname Piano Man after his signature song by the same name. Joel happens to be one of the greatest singers in history. He has sold over $150 million records all over the world. Joel has seen plenty of dollars flowing into his bank account, as they still do. So it isn’t surprising that the star has a large mansion for a home. Nor is it surprising to know that he spends multi-million dollars on renovating his property. But Joel has hit the headlines for a lawsuit recently, and it is gaining plenty of attention.
When you see the headlines that someone is suing Billy Joel, you would think that the copyright infringement was over a song. However, it’s not about a song at all, and actually about an estate. Another contractor has made claims that Joel ripped off his architectural designs about the renovations of his Long Island estate by giving them to another builder. The contractor filed his petition in the federal court of Brooklyn on the 22nd of April 2020.
Billy Joel’s sprawling home is in Long Island and takes up 12,000 square feet of the Oyster Bay shorefront. The land spreads across 29 acres of waterfront, according to the court! Joel and his wife sure are living in a dream home, but it seems their renovations have become a legal nightmare.
The celebrity crooner had hired Berry Hill Development Corp. for their mansion renovations. The home improvement contractor came onboard the renovation project in 2019. And the company saw this assignment as a ‘marquee project.’ The suit claims that the contractor’s termination was out of the blue. The owner of the home improvement company is Paul Laruccia. Laruccia informed the court that he was told that there were defects in his work, as determined by a structural engineer. They also went on to tell him that they did not need him as the contractor anymore. Laruccia’s concern is that he had already gotten the architectural designs laid out, costing his company over $126,700. According to him, part of these costs are going unpaid.
The Core of the Problem
The real issue was when Joel went on to employ a second home improvement contractor for the renovations and supplied the Centre Island Building Department architectural drawings that were “nearly identical” to those drawn up by Berry Hill contractors. The lawsuit that follows from Berry Hill states that the defendants are continuing their renovations of the estate and making use of the plans and designs produced and therefore owned by Berry Hill, but without their license, approval, permission, or otherwise.
Laruccia claims that he had his designs copyrighted and that Joel should know by now of the lawsuit against him. He claims to have sent Joel a cease-and-desist letter and another lawsuit, but it has been left unanswered and unattended to. He also claims that another lawsuit was filed in Nassau County Supreme Court, but that too is left as is. The lawsuit names Joel’s wife as well as Joel, as LLC owns the properties.
What the Joels Have To Say
According to Billy and Alexis Joel, the real issue is actually that Paul Leruccia is unhappy about the termination of the contract between Berry Hill and the Joels. However, the couple says the dismissal was the right decision. They say Laruccia’s accusations are unjust, and they do not stand by them. The couple says that Bery Hill’s contract termination was because of the significant structural defects in the proposed architectural designs as submitted by the contractor. The spokesperson further added that the defects were to affect the safety of the home. And adds that it was outrageous of Berry Hill to claim payment for defective work.
There will still be some time before there is an outcome for this lawsuit, and it is tough to see which way this will swing. Court matters tend to take a lot of time, and we wonder whether Berry Hill will get much out of this. We do wonder why Joel would have stolen one company’s design to pay another to do the same thing? Who knows what else may unfold! We’ll keep our eyes peeled!