The infamous "Murder House" in the first season of FX's American Horror Story is at the center of a lawsuit between its current and previous owners. The subject of the first season of creators Ryan Murphy and Brad Falchuk's American Horror Story in 2011, the Victorian-style mansion set the creepy tone for the series, as an unsuspecting family (Dylan McDermott, Connie Britton and Taissa Farmiga) who moved into the Los Angeles abode soon found out that the "murder house," as it was deemed, was haunted by malevolent ghosts from the past.
The mansion wasn't created on a studio back lot, however, but is a real home known as the Rosenheim Mansion. Like other real-life locations used to create famous film and television shows, the landmark became a hot destination for die-hard fans of American Horror Story, and as a result, it has apparently become a horror story for the mansion's latest owners.
According to The Wrap, the couple who purchased the Rosenheim Mansion in 2015, Dr. Ernst R. von Schwarz and Pier Angela Oakenfold, have filed a lawsuit against the previous owners of the estate, claiming they did not disclose that it was used in the TV series. The lawsuit – which names the real estate agents and the broker for the sale of the Greta von Steinbaur's estate – is claiming breach of contract and “fraudulent concealment” in an amount of damages up to $3 million. Filed in the Superior Court of California on February 7, the lawsuit claims:
“Unbeknownst to the plaintiffs, and not disclosed by Defendants, hundreds of fans of the TV show would come to the property, trespass, attempt to break in, and created a significant nuisance not only for the Seller, but for the neighbors as well.”
Additionally, the lawsuit claims the plaintiffs didn't disclose structural issues with the estate, saying the property has “significant leaks, water intrusion and mold.”
This will be an interesting case to follow, considering that American Horror Story gave the mansion an enormous amount of visibility, not only through the TV series, but furthermore, the acclaim it earned by critics and within the industry. The debut season of American Horror Story earned 17 Primetime Emmy Award nominations, and came away with two statuettes including Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Miniseries or TV Movie for Jessica Lange.
The defendants in the case will most certainly argue that the plaintiffs were aware of the notoriety; but for the sake of argument, maybe the plaintiffs don't watch TV or if they did, didn't subscribe to FX and had no idea of the recent high-profile history of the mansion – and thus were unprepared with the fandom that was about to besiege them. Surely contracts and other documents surrounding the sale will be introduced in the lawsuit, which will ultimately determine the backstory and eventual ruling in a court of law for this real-life nightmare.
Source: The Wrap