A formal response has been filed to the lawsuit instigated by two concertgoers who are seeking damages because of Madonna’s slack time-keeping. No reasonable concertgoer would have interpreted an 8.30pm start time to mean an 8.30pm start time, argues a court filing submitted by Madonna and her promoter Live Nation. And anyway, it adds, an unexpected late night does not constitute an invasion of any recognised legal right. So now you know. 

The litigious concertgoers “do not allege Madonna’s performance was subpar, that her performance was worth less than what they paid, or that they left the concert before watching her entire performance”, the new legal filing declares. “Nor did they seek a refund. Instead, they filed a federal lawsuit alleging false advertising, breach of contract and related causes of action”. But none of those allegations are credible, the new filing insists. 

Michael Fellows and Jonathan Hadden went legal in January having attended one of Madonna’s shows at the Barclays Center in New York last December. They said that the advertised start time for the show was 8.30pm, but Madonna didn’t take to the stage until after 10.30pm, meaning the concert didn’t finish until after midnight. 

The late finish, their lawsuit claimed, meant fans were “confronted with limited public transportation, limited ride-sharing, and/or increased public and private transportation costs”. And even if they got home OK, what if fans had commitments that required them to get up early the following day? 

Madonna and Live Nation have two issues with the alleged inconveniences set out in the lawsuit. 

First, an unexpected late night is not a “cognizable injury” - which is to say, no recognised legal right has been infringed. Even if the unexpected last night results in having “trouble getting a ride home” or is problematic because you have to “wake up early the next day for work”. 

And second, there is no evidence that either Fellows or Hadden did experience any trouble getting home, or that they had to get up early the next day. 

Hadden raved about the show on social media without mentioning any problems getting home, the new legal filing notes. Meanwhile, it adds, “based on defendants’ investigation, it appears that Fellows lives near the Barclays Center, so he cannot claim that he was ‘injured’ as a result of increased transportation costs (or otherwise)”. 

Elsewhere, Madonna and Live Nation argue that all concertgoers know that when a show is advertised as starting at 8.30pm, that rarely means the headline act will be on stage at that time. 

“A reasonable concertgoer”, they add, “would understand that the venue’s doors will open at or before the ticketed time, one or more opening acts may perform while attendees arrive and make their way to their seats and before the headline act takes the stage, and the headline act will take the stage later in the evening”.

They also note that Fellows and Hadden’s lawsuit references Madonna’s reputation for often arriving on stage late at her shows. 

And while Live Nation has previously insisted that the late start that occurred at the specific Barclays Center concert this lawsuit relates to was the result of technical problems, the fact Madonna is a famously poor timekeeper is yet another reason why Fellows and Hadden couldn’t have possibly expected her to be onstage at 8.30pm. 

With all that in mind, Madonna and Live Nation would like the court to promptly dismiss the lawsuit. Well, maybe not promptly. Whenever the judge can get round to it.

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