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Material Girl or Material Breach? – Madonna Sued for Breach of Contract in New York

Material Girl or Material Breach? – Madonna Sued for Breach of Contract in New York

Madonna has been taken to court in New York by two concertgoers who have claimed the singer breached their contract with ticketholders due to Madonna’s late arrival to the show. 

According to the court papers, the show in New York on 13 December 2023 was advertised to start at 8.30pm but Madonna did not actually take to the stage until 10.30pm. The show ended at 1am which left the attendees “stranded in the middle of the night,” and “confronted with limited public transportation, limited ride-sharing, and/or increased public and private transportation costs”. The Plaintiffs state that they “would not have paid for their tickets had they known that the concert would start after 10.30pm”.

The action claims that Madonna’s excessive lateness amounts to breach of contract and false advertising. The action seeks damages due to the inconvenience to audience members who had to get up early the next day. Madonna has issued a statement saying she will “defend this case vigorously” citing technical issues as the reason for the late start. 

Had Madonna been taking to the Hydro rather than New York, she could quite possibly be on the hook for damages for breach of contract, but the extent of those damages may not be a lot. 

It is well established in Scots law that damages are recoverable in breach of contract cases where the aggrieved party has suffered an actual financial loss as a result of the breach. The amount of damages will be calculated on the basis of putting the pursuer back into the position they would have been in had the contract been performed without a breach. 

However, the law has developed to allow monetary awards for damages to account for inconvenience suffered by the innocent party. Cases where parties may have had to travel or source materials necessary to fulfil their purposes have seen pursuers awarded damages to compensate for the inconvenience suffered, but those awards have been nominal, generally a few hundred pounds. The law will not compensate for disappointment caused by the breach, there must be a physical inconvenience to substantiate an award of damages. Exceptions are made for contracts which were designed to bring joy or peace of mind (e.g. wedding photography). 

A breach of contract which results in a non-monetary loss may also result in an award of damages, but the level of that award is at the discretion of the court. The pursuer is required to show that the breach resulted in the loss of an amenity. Cases include where a surveyor failed to inform the purchaser of a house about aircraft noise above the property where the question was specifically asked. The pursuer was awarded £10,000 for the fact that they would have to endure the noise. Separately, where a swimming pool was constructed too shallow, the owner was entitled to £2,500 to reflect that they could not enjoy the pool in the manner in which they had expected. 

Madonna has been subject to similar lawsuits in the past which have settled out of court. Time will tell if Madonna is in material breach of contract or just a Material Girl. 

If you have any matters where you feel you may be entitled to damages as a result of breach of contract, contact our Dispute Resolution team on 03330 430150 to discuss your options. 

About the author

Iain Boyd
Iain Boyd

Iain Boyd

Senior Solicitor

Commercial Litigation, Dispute Resolution & Claims

For more information, contact Iain Boyd on +44 131 297 5983.