March 2, 2023
A recent lawsuit filed against Lady Gaga has reopened the story surrounding her kidnapped French Bulldogs and the promise of a half million dollars. In February of 2021, Lady Gaga’s dogwalker was shot in Los Angeles as five assailants stole the popstar’s beloved pets. Despite being left Speechless by the robbery, Lady Gaga immediately offered $500,000.00 to whoever returned the dogs, “no questions asked”. Two days after the armed robbery, the dogs were returned by a woman (Jennifer McBride) who claimed to have found them tied to a pole somewhere in the city. Despite the seemingly heroic deed, McBride was not greeted with any Applause, or her expected reward.
Fast forward to today, McBride is setting Lady Gaga’s Teeth on edge as she is seeking her reward and alleging that the singer broke the unilateral contract and committed fraud by making a false promise. To make matters more complicated, McBride was recently convicted and sentenced to two years of probation for her involvement in the incident, which included receiving the stolen dogs from the attackers and being an accessory to attempted murder. Despite her conviction, McBride is maintaining her Poker Face and is seeking an additional $1.5 million for her “mental anguish” and her “pain and suffering”. While some may believe that this is nothing more than a Shallow attempt to recover money from Lady Gaga, the question remains: is McBride actually entitled to the reward money?
Although You and I may think this story is a little ridiculous, it is not the first time an expensive offer made to the public became the center of controversy. In the mid 1990’s, PepsiCo ran promotions for their loyalty program, where customers could earn “Pepsi Points” for buying products and exchange them for prizes. One such commercial sarcastically advertised an AV-8 Harrier II jet as the grand prize for anyone who accumulated 7,000,000 points. When John Leonard attempted to cash in his points for the jet, the soda conglomerate denied the request, stating that the ad and the prize were meant to only be a funny, entertaining commercial. Despite suing PepsiCo for breach of contract and fraud, Leonard could not obtain The Cure for his claims and never received his jump jet. The court ruled that the Pepsi commercial was not a real “offer” and that no reasonable person would believe the company could give away a military plane.
Looking at the Leonard v. Pepsico, Inc. case may provide some insight on how Lady Gaga’s issue could play out since the allegations are comparable. However, McBride would likely argue that there are a Million Reasons why the situations are not alike. For example, a money reward for returning a lost pet may not be considered unreasonable as those kinds of rewards are somewhat common. Unlike the Harrier prize offered by Pepsi, the public could reasonably believe that Lady Gaga had the money and was willing to spend it to get her pets back. Moreover, Lady Gaga’s offer seemed sincere because she is known to care deeply about her pets, and she made her offer publicly immediately after the incident took place. On the other hand, the Pepsi offer was merely done in jest, as part of a commercial, and was not intended to be taken seriously.
While Lady Gaga may wish to Just Dance, sing and be rid of the issue once and for all, McBride’s lawsuit has garnered a lot of attention from the Paparazzi and tabloids. Needless to say, the Bad Romance between the two parties will continue to be discussed amongst music fans and lawyers alike until there is a verdict or a settlement. Be sure to check back in with RKW as we endeavor to provide updates on this matter as it develops. And if you are interested in learning more about the famous Leonard v. Pepsico, Inc. case, check out the recent docuseries, “Pepsi, Where’s My Jet?”, on Netflix.