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Celebrity battle over access ends -- for now

In a decidedly uncivil war of haves versus haves, the South has prevailed against the North.

South Beverly Park, that is.

A Los Angeles County Superior Court judge tentatively ruled this week that “guests and invitees” of residents of the exclusive Westside community may enter through the gates of adjacent North Beverly Park.

The dispute went to court last spring after the 64-home North Beverly Park Homeowners Assn. began restricting access to a road that residents of the 16-home South Beverly Park neighborhood had been freely using for two decades.

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Under the limitations, southern residents could continue to use the northern gates at Mulholland Drive.

But their nannies, gardeners and contractors had to take long detours on Benedict Canyon or Coldwater Canyon drives.

Northern residents defended the restrictions, citing security concerns and costs.

Among the South Beverly Park plaintiffs were Earvin “Magic” Johnson, Samuel L. Jackson and producer Richard Zanuck.

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The northern defendants included Denzel Washington, Reba McEntire and media moguls Haim Saban and Sumner Redstone.

The battle is not over, said Jeffrey G. Huron, an attorney for the northern residents.

“It’s our intention to file written objections,” he said.

Huron added that the communities are separate and distinct.

“There is no reason why [southern] guests and invitees should not have to use the public streets like all of the other residents in the neighborhood that do not live in North Beverly Park,” he said.

Steve Goldberg, an attorney for the southern residents, said he expected the decision to stand.

If and when the ruling becomes final, he said, his clients intend to launch Phase 2: a claim for compensatory and punitive damages.

Goldberg said they also would seek reimbursement for attorney fees of $2 million and counting.

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martha.groves@latimes.com


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