Madonna fans who sued singer over late concert start dismiss their own lawsuit

<span>A lawsuit filed against Madonna after a concert at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn in December has been dropped.</span><span>Photograph: Kevin Mazur/WireImage for Live Nation</span>
A lawsuit filed against Madonna after a concert at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn in December has been dropped.Photograph: Kevin Mazur/WireImage for Live Nation

Two Madonna fans have dropped their lawsuit against the singer for starting her show two hours late, having previously argued they had to get up early the next day.

In January, Michael Fellows and Jason Alvarez filed a class action case against the singer, Brooklyn venue the Barclays Center and her tour promoters Live Nation after she came on stage at 10.30pm at the Barclays Center on 13 December.

The plaintiffs had argued they would not have bought tickets to her Celebrations tour if they had known that her performance would not start until 10.30pm, saying that leaving the venue at 1am had left them “stranded” with “limited public transportation” options and increased costs due to surge prices on ride-share apps.

Related: You want to sue Madonna for being late on stage? She’s an artist not a service industry worker | Alexis Petridis

As the concert fell on a Wednesday, the plaintiffs also argued that the late time had left them with less sleep when they had to “get up early to go to work and/or take care of their family responsibilities the next day”.

They accused Madonna, Live Nation and the Barclays Center of “unconscionable, unfair, and/or deceptive trade practices” over the start time, which they argued constituted a breach of contract and false advertising.

Madonna and Live Nation later claimed the late start was due to a technical issue.

But in court documents filed on Wednesday, Fellows and Alvarez voluntarily dismissed their suit with prejudice, meaning it cannot be tried again.

Jeff Warshafsky, the attorney representing Madonna and Live Nation, wrote in a letter on Wednesday that the dismissal “was not the result of any settlement” between the parties.

Lawyers for Madonna had previously filed to have the case dismissed, arguing fans know she always starts her show well after the ticketed time.

Court documents argued: “If a fan is familiar enough with Madonna’s concert history to know her performances run for two hours and fifteen minutes, that fan would surely know that Madonna typically takes the stage well after the ticketed event time (after an opening act, set transition, and so on) and plays late into the night.”

Her lawyers also argued that her performance was never advertised to start at 8.30pm, adding that “no reasonable concertgoer – and certainly no Madonna fan – would expect the headline act at a major arena concert to take the stage at the ticketed event time.”

Madonna has faced similar lawsuits before: in 2019 a Florida fan argued that her lateness on her Madame X tour was a breach of contract, and again in 2020, in a lawsuit filed by two New York concertgoers. Both lawsuits were later voluntarily dismissed.

In May, a man who attended one of her Celebration tour shows in Los Angeles also filed a lawsuit against the singer and Live Nation. In the suit, Justen Lipeles alleged that Madonna had produced “pornography without warning” and he “was forced to watch topless women on stage simulating sex acts”. He also complained that the concert began “later” than advertised, at 10pm.

Madonna has not publicly responded to Lipeles’ lawsuit. The Guardian has previously contacted her for comment.

The Celebration tour was well received by critics and audiences, with the Guardian’s Alexis Petridis writing in a four-star review that her “strengths seem very strong indeed”.

After 80 dates and $225m in ticket revenue, the tour concluded with a free concert on Copacabana beach in Rio de Janeiro for an estimated 1.6 million people.