French lighting designer wins Pitt-Jolie winery lawsuit

The Daily Meal

French lighting designer Odile Soudant was awarded €565,000 (about $667,000) by a French court in a legal battle against Brad Pitt, co-owner of Château Miraval, the seventeenth-century wine-producing estate in Provence that Pitt bought for about $60 million with his then-partner Angelina Jolie in 2012. (The couple originally leased the property in 2008, and their twins, Knox and Vivienne, were born there; they were married on the estate in 2014.)

With winemaking under the supervision of Marc Perrin, from the Perrin family of Château de Beaucastel, the husband-and-wife duo created a rosé that sold out in the first five hours it was available. Though the couple is now divorced, Perrin has stated that they will retain ownership of the property, and that winemaking will continue.

The dispute in question, however, has to do with a renovation project on the property. Soudant filed suit against Miraval's owners, claiming that her business - Paris-based Lumières Studio - failed and that her career was irreparably damaged after Pitt refused to pay for her creations. "I gave up everything to accept the work at Miraval," she told The Associated Press.

Soudant alleges that she was given unlimited time and an unlimited budget to bring the lighting at the estate up to twenty-first-century standards, though her company was never given a contract stipulating the terms of the agreement.

Pitt's representatives argued that Soudant did not uphold her end of the deal, though they wouldn't stipulate whether the agreement was written or oral. Soudant alleges that the Miraval owners made "delirious demands" and that at one time she had 17 employees working on the lighting at the home.

Soudant contends that after three-and-a-half years of work, Pitt stopped paying her for her services and that she faced bankruptcy as a result. The amount the Paris Court of Appeals ordered Pitt to pay the designer included €300,000 (about $355,000) in unpaid bills and €60,000 (about $71,000) for damage to her reputation.

Soudant is currently fighting for intellectual property rights to Château Miraval's lighting design.

Those interested in purchasing a bottle of Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie's wine can find it here.

View slideshow

Copyright © 2018, Los Angeles Times
EDITION: California | U.S. & World