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Madonna & Live Nation Fire Back At Lawsuit Over Concert Delays, Say They Will ‘Defend This Case Vigorously’

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Madonna’s management team and Live Nation responded Wednesday to a high-profile lawsuit claiming the music legend harmed her fans by starting New York City concerts later than scheduled, disputing some allegations and saying they plan to “defend this case vigorously.”

The response statement came after days of silence regarding the proposed class action lawsuit, in which two fans claim the star and the concert giant breached their contract with concertgoers and violated New York state laws by starting three December shows in Brooklyn more than two hours later than the scheduled.

In their joint statement, Madonna’s reps and Live Nation said that the just-completed European leg of her Celebration Tour had “received rave reviews” and vowed the fight back against the lawsuit’s allegations.

“The shows opened in North America at Barclays in Brooklyn as planned, with the exception of a technical issue December 13th during soundcheck,” Madonna’s reps and Live Nation said. “This caused a delay that was well documented in press reports at the time. We intend to defend this case vigorously.”

Ticket buyers Michael Fellows and Jonathan Hadden filed their case last week, claiming that the delays — starting at 10:30 pm rather than the scheduled 8:30 pm — caused real legal harm to ticket buyers who, among other things, “had to get up early to go to work” the next day.

“Defendants’ actions constitute not just a breach of their contracts … but also a wanton exercise in false advertising, negligent misrepresentation, and unfair and deceptive trade practices,” attorneys for the two men wrote in their complaint, filed in Brooklyn federal court.

The three concerts at Brooklyn’s Barclays Center, stops on Madonna’s Celebration Tour, were originally scheduled for July but rescheduled to December due to the singer’s illness. Fellows and Hadden said they expected their show (Dec. 13) to start on time, and “would not have paid for their tickets had they known that the concerts would start after 10:30 p.m.”

“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,” attorneys for the two men wrote.

Leaving Barclays Center after 1:00 a.m., the two men claimed ticket buyers were “left stranded in the middle of the night,” some “confronted with limited public transportation” options and others with increased prices for ride-share services. They also pointed out that the concert took place “on a weeknight,” meaning they “had to get up early to go to work and/or take care of their family responsibilities the next day.”

Can fans really sue over that? When they formally respond in court, Madonna and Live Nation will probably challenge many of the lawsuit’s claims by arguing that concert fans are on notice that live events sometimes start a little later than scheduled. They could also point to contractual provisions in ticket contracts that could give performers some leeway for unexpected delays.

In addition to Madonna herself, the lawsuit also named Live Nation and Barclays Center as defendants. In technical terms, the complaint alleged breach of contract; violation of New York’s business practices and false advertising laws; and several other forms of wrongdoing, including unjust enrichment.

The lawsuit also included a claim of so-called negligent misrepresentation, saying the concert organizers “knew or should have known” that the concerts would not start at 8:30 because of alleged past instances of Madonna taking the stage late — and should have warned fans.

“Madonna has a long history of arriving and starting her concerts late, sometimes several hours late,” attorneys for Fellows and Hadden wrote. “This history occurred throughout her 2016 Rebel Heart Tour, her 2019-2020 Madame X Tour, and prior tours, where Madonna continuously started her concerts over two hours late.”

Attorneys for Fellows and Hadden did not return a request for comment on Wednesday’s response statement.

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