MANHATTAN (CN) – An insurance company says Paris Hilton refuses to return $60,000 worth of borrowed jewelry that was stolen from her Los Angeles estate, then returned to her by police. Since Hilton won’t fork over the goods, Allianz Global insurance says, it demands $60,000 from the celebutante.
Allianz claims Hilton borrowed the jewelry in 2007 from Damiani USA, which is insured by Allianz. Hilton agreed to keep the jewelry in a vault when she was not wearing them, Allianz says in its complaint in New York County Court.
“Ms. Hilton, due to her celebrity status, often obtains such items by entering into loan or bailment agreements with said designers whereby Ms. Hilton borrows the clothing and jewelry to be worn during public appearances in lieu of purchasing such items,” the complaint states.
It adds: “The agreements were signed by Ms. Hilton, or an authorized agent or representative of Ms. Hilton, and contain a certification that read ‘[b]y signing below you accept full responsibility for the safekeeping of the above listed items and ensure that they will be duly returned to a Damiani USA representative by the above date. When not worn, these pieces will be kept in a safe or vault.'”
But Hilton left her front door unlocked and the alarm system disarmed one night while she partied at a Hollywood nightclub in 2008, Allianz says.
“The burglar stole all of the loaned Damiani jewelry by sweeping the items off the closet shelves into one of Ms. Hilton’s Louis Vuitton handbags,” the complaint states.
Allianz says Hilton made it easy for him: “unbeknownst to Damiani, Ms. Hilton developed a habit of leaving the front door to the home unlocked and the alarm system unarmed. … While Ms. Hilton was attending the party, a man in a hooded sweatshirt and gloves walked through Ms. Hilton’s mansion’s unlocked front door, entered her bedroom closet, and stole $2.8 million worth of jewelry, including the Damiani jewelry, which had been sitting out in plain sight on the shelves located inside Ms. Hilton’s closet and not in the safe as required by the agreements.”
A year later, police arrested members of the so-called Hollywood “Bling Ring,” which broke into celebrities’ – including Hilton’s.
Allianz says: “The aforementioned Louis Vuitton bag full of jewelry was returned to Ms. Hilton by the Los Angeles Police Department.”
But in the meantime, Allianz says it had paid Damiani’s $60,000 insurance claim.
“Shortly thereafter, Michael Hamner, Ms. Hilton’s business manager, acknowledged to Allianz that all of the jewelry stolen from Ms. Hilton’s mansion was returned to her by the Los Angeles Police Department,” Allianz says.
But the insurer says Hilton won’t deliver the goods: “Allianz attempted to follow up with defendants on several occasions to recover the loaned Damiani jewelry; however, defendants failed to return the jewelry or return any telephone calls or email messages.”
Allianz seeks $60,000 in damages for conversion, breach of contract, negligence and unjust enrichment. It is represented by Owen Carragher with Lankler & Carragher.