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House of Pain

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It was supposed to be Sandra Bullock‘s dream home: a $6.5 million mansion in Austin, Texas, of nearly 10,000 square feet with a library and a screening room. Instead it became a nightmare: In 2001, after Austin builder M.B. “Benny” Daneshjou finished work on the home, he sued Bullock, claiming she owed him money. She countersued, saying she couldn’t live in the house because of unsafe construction, including a leaky roof and faulty rock walls, that would cost $4 million to repair (see box). On Oct. 14, after an eight-week trial—Bullock showed up nearly every day and once began crying on the stand—the jury awarded her $7.8 million. “I felt firmly committed to see the process through,” Bullock said in a statement, “especially for all those homeowners who could never afford to come this far.” While Daneshjou says he plans to appeal, Bullock is back in L.A. finishing the sequel to Miss Congeniality and spending time with boyfriend Jesse James. What will now come of the house is “a decision we have to make,” says her father, John Bullock. “She loves the land.”