Madonna’s lawyers ‘will not be harassed into settlement’ for concert lawsuit

Madonna has been on holiday since closing her Celebration Tour with a rapturous, free beachside concert in Rio that was attended by 1.6 million people. It remains fascinating to me that she actually started the Rio show, which again was free, within an hour of the scheduled start time. 50 minutes late is basically early in Madonna math. But though the tour is over, the lawsuits are still chugging along. Madonna has been sued by fans for starting the show egregiously late (2-3 hours) not once, not twice, but thrice. The first suit was filed in January in relation to a Brooklyn tour stop last December, and apparently the lawyers from both parties have been engaging in a little tête-à-tête recently. Per Billboard:

Over the weekend, the dueling teams of lawyers engaged in a bizarre back and forth. On Friday (June 7), attorneys for the accusers told the judge that the two sides had “reached a settlement” that would end the case. But first thing on Monday morning (June 10), Madonna’s legal team emphatically denied that any such deal had been reached: “The parties have not settled this matter.”

“To be clear, defendants are not necessarily opposed to settlement if certain terms can be reached,” wrote Jeff Warshafsky, a partner at the firm Proskauer who reps Madonna and Live Nation. “But defendants will not be harassed into settlement and cannot abide false statements made to the court.”

In the filing, Madonna’s lawyer said the two sides had “discussed the possibility of settlement” but that they had “made no settlement offer” and “we do not know what plaintiffs believe they are accomplishing or trying to accomplish with the false notice.”

“The false notice is part and parcel of the harassment campaign that plaintiffs’ counsel has been waging against defendants over the last several months in hopes of extorting a lucrative settlement by forcing defendants to incur unnecessary legal fees,” Warshafsky wrote. “Whatever plaintiffs’ motive … defendants believe plaintiffs’ complaint is completely without merit and intend to fully defend themselves.”

An attorney for Madonna’s accusers did not immediately return a request for comment.

Madonna and Live Nation were first sued in January over the Brooklyn shows — a case that made headlines because it claimed the fans “had to get up early to go to work” the next day. She was later hit with a similar case in Washington, D.C. that claimed fans had waited in an “uncomfortably hot” arena and that she had lip-synched portions of the show. A third case, filed last month, echoed those claims but also alleged that Madonna’s show had been unexpectedly “pornographic.”

All three cases have been filed as class actions, seeking to represent potentially thousands of other fans who also faced the alleged delays. By starting the concerts later than expected, the cases claim Madonna and Live Nation breached their contracts with fans and violated state consumer protection laws.

Madonna’s attorneys have strongly rejected those accusations. In a request to dismiss the New York case earlier this year, her lawyers argued that simply needing to wake up early was not the kind of “cognizable injury” that can form the basis for a lawsuit. And they say that anyone buying a concert ticket is well aware that a show likely won’t start at the exact time printed on the ticket.

“No reasonable concertgoer — and certainly no Madonna fan — would expect the headline act at a major arena concert to take the stage at the ticketed event time,” her legal team wrote in April.

A version of that motion to dismiss the case remains pending. With no settlement reached, a response from Madonna’s accusers is due on July 1.

[From Billboard]

Plaintiffs’ attorney: “We believe we have reached a settlement.” Madonna’s attorney: “This is harassment!!!!” That’s the gist of it, right? From the time the first case was filed, Madonna’s lawyers have tended towards the hyperbolic. The initial rebuttal was that they’d be defending her “vigorously!” … and then what is the defense? “No reasonable concertgoer — and certainly no Madonna fan — would expect the headline act at a major arena concert to take the stage at the ticketed event time.” Bitch, she’s Madonna, she doesn’t have to justify her lateness! True Madonna fans know this! With all due respect, Mr. Warshafsky, even Elle Woods would come up with a more substantial argument than that.

So by my calculations, the “celebration” in the tour remains to be, at least from the audience’s perspective, the fact that Madonna took the stage at all, and that they survived the inhumane roasting in the un-air conditioned, densely packed arena. Madonna — pushing her fans over the borderline… of patience.

Photos credit: J King/Dilson Silva/Backgrid and via Instagram

You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed.

11 Responses to “Madonna’s lawyers ‘will not be harassed into settlement’ for concert lawsuit”

Comments are Closed

We close comments on older posts to fight comment spam.

  1. Lolo86lf says:

    I don’t know. It seems to me like a cut and dry lawsuit here. People paid hundreds of dollars to see her performance at a specific time to start the show, not 1 or 2 or 3 hours later. Lateness is a violation of the contract so to speak. How is she going to get out of not paying, she did not comply with the expectation to be on time? Didn’t J Lo deduct money from her dancers who were late for rehearsals or something? hey it is a two-way street here. Pay up Madonna, you are in the wrong.

    • pottymouth pup says:

      it’s Madonna that deducted $100 from a dancer’s paycheck for every minute they were late

  2. ML says:

    This doesn’t necessarily just pertain to Madonna, but if you choose to perform where a chunk of your fans are dependent on public transport, be on time. Also don’t have a reputation for being strict with those who work for you—if you’ve docked dancers pay for lateness, then fans should expect money back if you’re late.

    • DK says:

      I don’t even understand the logistics of being 3 hours late to your own concert – you’re essentially starting the show AFTER most reasonable concert-goers would have expected folks show to be over, and to be on their way home.

      So how does this work with all the venue staff, who would have reasonably concluded that their duties would have been completed and their work day over three hours earlier, too? All the venue security and ticket-takers, the concessions folks, the janitorial staff, the ushers, etc. – they aren’t going to be part of Madonna’s entourage but tied to the venue, and they have every right to believe their job would be performed at the time they were told in advance.
      Does Madonna pay them overtime? Is the venue obligated to? Were they allowed to leave their posts at the time they were originally told work would be over, or did they also have to last minute reschedule their life for a surprise extra 3-hour long workday?

      (And I’m not sure how it works with concert crew – whether they are hired by and travel with Madonna like back up dancers etc – so this might be in the contract- or whether they are also venue-specific, which again means they’ve likely been asked to work outside of their contract specifications once a show is that late.)

      And how does it work with sound ordinances in the respective cities? Surely a concert starting 3 hours late is going to run well over most city public noise curfews.

      If it were some unavoidable emergency, I’m sure starting late is preferable to rescheduling, esp for fans who have travelled to see the show. But this happening so many times suggests there were no emergencies.

      ( I am side-eyeing the “pornographic elements” aspect of the third lawsuit though. “B1tch it’s Madonna!” does seem to apply in that case – what did you expect?! If you don’t want sexual content then don’t go to a Madonna show)

  3. WaterDragon says:

    I think Madonna needs to retire. I can’t believe people would pays hundreds of dollars to go to her concerts. She is way past her “sell by” date.

  4. Bumblebee says:

    The excuse, she’s late all the time, doesn’t work, when everything advertised and the tickets purchased states a start time.
    And to the comment above about the employees affected, what about all the ones with children? Late fees for childcare, asking the sitter to stay late, it’s just more stress and money lost.

  5. MY3CENTS says:

    I’m actually happy about this.
    I don’t know if this is common practice or just a Madonna thing, but it’s time to actually consider and respect all the thousands of people ( plus workers) who are inconvenienced.
    Maybe this will be a cautionary to do better.

  6. Elsa says:

    I like things to be on time and I like air condition. What can I say? I’m old and I live in Texas. My feet hurt and it’s hot here.

  7. HeatherC says:

    Last year I saw Metallica (supported by WVH Mammoth and Pantera). Each act was timely.

    I was thinking about seeing Madonna one day if she ever tours again, but not with that attitude. 2, 3 hours late? Pssh. F that. I have better artists to spend my money on, the ones that respect the fans that are making them the money.

    • Schmootc says:

      Same here. Especially since for me that would mean traveling three hours just to get to the venue to begin with. No, thank you.