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Madonna fans drop lawsuit over late concert start

Two US concertgoers sued the singer after attending her Brooklyn gig last December, but have now dismissed their case with prejudice

By James Hanley on 20 Jun 2024


image © Ricardo Gomes

Two US concertgoers who sued Madonna for starting a New York gig two hours late have dropped their lawsuit.

Plaintiffs Michael Fellows and Jonathan Hadden launched legal action against the singer, the concert venue and promoter Live Nation. They alleged the Queen of Pop’s 13 December 2024 tour date at New York’s Barclays Center was advertised as starting at 8.30pm, but did not begin until 10.30pm and finished well past midnight.

In the lawsuit filed in Brooklyn federal court, the pair claimed they “would not have paid for tickets” had they known the show would not finish until 1am, and claimed “false advertising, negligent misrepresentation, and unfair and deceptive trade practices”.

“Many ticketholders who attended concerts on a weeknight had to get up early to go to work and/or take care of their family responsibilities the next day,” said the filing. “Defendants failed to provide any notice to the ticketholders that the concerts would start much later than the start time printed on the ticket and as advertised, which resulted in the ticketholders waiting for hours.”

In response, lawyers for Madonna argued: “If a fan is familiar enough with Madonna’s concert history to know her performances run for two hours and 15 minutes, that fan would surely know that Madonna typically takes the stage well after the ticketed event time… and plays late into the night.”

People reports the case has now been dismissed after Fellows and Hadden sent a notice of a “voluntary dismissal with prejudice”, meaning they cannot re-file the claim.

“Defendants believe that this action was a frivolous strike suit designed to force them to incur legal expenses”

In a letter dated 19 June, Jeff Warshafsky, lawyer for Madonna and Live Nation, clarified that the dismissal “was not the result of any settlement” between the parties, adding that the defendants “do not agree with plaintiffs’ position that each party should bear its own fees and costs”.

“Defendants believe that this action was a frivolous strike suit designed to force them to incur legal expenses,” reads Warshafsky’s letter. “Plaintiffs have now abandoned this lawsuit when it became clear that this approach would not result in a settlement payment and that they would need to oppose defendants’ motion to dismiss the amended complaint.”

Disgruntled fans in Washington DC filed a similar lawsuit against Madonna in April for her late appearances at December concerts in the city’s Capital One Arena, claiming that by starting her shows over two hours behind schedule, she showed “total disrespect for her fans.”

They also say they were forced to wait for hours in a “hot, uncomfortable arena,” claiming that Madonna herself had insisted on the temperature. Their allegations include accusations of lip-syncing – another instance of false advertising, according to their attorneys.

And the star was sued yet again earlier this month, with a class action suit alleging false advertising and unwanted exposure to sexual content in relation to her 7 March concert at Los Angeles’ Kia Forum.

Madonna’s 80-date Celebration Tour ran from October 2023 to May this year, generating $227.2 million from 1.1 million ticket sales, according to Pollstar data. The outing concluded with the biggest concert of the American pop icon’s career – a free show attended by an estimated 1.6m people on Copacabana Beach, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, on 4 May.


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