They say imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, but that’s not how one Canadian couple felt about their copycat neighbors down the street when they filed a lawsuit.
When Jason and Jodi Chapnik first noticed that their neighbors had started renovations on their newly purchased home in 2013, they didn’t think anything of it.
But just a year later, they would start a lengthy and heated legal battle over the owner’s choice of design, according to the Toronto Star.
The Chapniks live in a castle-like home in the upper-class neighborhood of Forest Hill in Toronto. They bought the stately home for a whopping $5.8 million in 2006.
According to court documents, it is “one of the most well-known and admired houses in the Cedarvale and Forest Hill neighborhoods, in a large part due to its uniqueness.”Screenshot/Google Maps
In 2013, Baraba Ann and Eric Kirshenblatt bought the home just down the street from the Chapniks’ 1935 stone home, and started renovations almost immediately, reports the Daily Mail.
And the Kirshenblatts allegedly seemed to know exactly where to get their inspiration — from the Chapniks.
In May 2014, Jason Chapnik said that construction workers from the Kirshenblatts’ renovation project visited his home “to speak to him and study the Strathearn house closer.”
And when the Chapniks noticed the home down the street was renovated to look nearly identical, they sprung to action.Screenshot/Google Maps
According to the Toronto Star, the Chapniks filed a lawsuit against the Kirshenblatts for $20,000 in copyright claims and $1 million in punitive damages.
A mandatory injunction for the other couple to change their home brought the total to $1.5 million.
However, the Kirshenblatts maintained that they never actually tried to copy their neighbors’ home. They claimed that they were actually inspired by Tudor-style cottages, which have been around for centuries.
Their lawyer, Jeremy Lum-Danson, told the Toronto Star:
“There is no admission of guilt or liability on the part of my clients, and they truly believe that they did nothing wrong.”
The legal battle raged on for more than three years until coming to an end recently.
After all the chaos, the Chapniks weren’t able to prove that their neighbors stole the design from them. They settled out of court for an undisclosed amount.