LOS ANGELES (CNS) - Lady Gaga's attorneys are again seeking dismissal of a civil suit brought by a woman who maintains she is entitled to collect the $500,000 reward offer the singer issued for the safe return of two French bulldogs after they were stolen in 2021, arguing once more that a person cannot legally benefit from his or her own wrongdoing.
Plaintiff Jennifer McBride returned Lady Gaga's dogs in February 2021. She alleges in a Los Angeles Superior Court complaint originally filed Feb. 24, then updated July 28, that the singer defrauded her into surrendering the pets with the promise that no questions would be posed if the pets were returned.
"Plaintiff was in no way involved with the theft of Lady Gaga's bulldogs and had no knowledge of said theft or its planning before its occurrence," the amended complaint states.
But in court papers filed Monday with Judge Holly Fujie, the singer's lawyers dispute McBride's claims of innocence and say her attorney has not fixed the problems with the first version of the suit. Gaga's attorneys contend that McBride was part of a conspiracy to steal the animals.
"Put simply, no amount of repleading, artful or otherwise, can overcome the fact that California law will not allow plaintiff to commit a crime and then profit from it," the performer's lawyers maintain in their court papers.
Fujie expressed skepticism about McBride's claims during a July 10 hearing, but gave the plaintiff another chance to convince her the lawsuit should move forward by filing an amended complaint. The judge stated in her written ruling that under the state Civil Code "no one can take advantage" of his or her own wrongdoing.
"Plaintiff's (amended complaint) FAC fails to cure this fundamental and fatal deficiency," the singer's attorneys argue in their court papers filed ahead of a scheduled Oct. 2 hearing before Fujie on the latest dismissal motion.
According to McBride's amended complaint, the plaintiff understood that the singer would pay the reward money upon the safe return of her bulldogs with no questions asked, regardless of the fact that the animals were stolen from the performer's dog walker.
In reliance on the offer, McBride "took possession of defendant's bulldogs for the specific purpose of ensuring their protection and safely returning them...," according to the revised complaint, which further states that the plaintiff "was maligned and vilified in the media, which caused her to suffer substantial psychological and emotional distress."
On Feb. 26, 2021, two days after her dogs were stolen, Gaga -- whose real name is Stefani Joanne Angelina Germanotta -- tweeted that she would pay $500,000 for their safe return, according to court papers. That same day, McBride brought the pets to the Los Angeles Police Department and they were later given back to Gaga, the singer's lawyers' court papers further state.
"At the time, plaintiff said that she was a good Samaritan who happened upon the dogs on the street by chance and `had no idea' that they belonged to (Gaga)," the 37-year-old singer's attorneys state.
In truth, McBride was a "direct and knowing participant in the criminal enterprise" and after her story collapsed under scrutiny from the LAPD, she was soon arrested, pleaded no contest to knowingly receiving stolen property and was sentenced to two years probation in December, the performer's lawyers maintain.
McBride is suing for breach of contract, fraud by false promise and fraud by misrepresentation. She also seeks legal fees and compensation for financial damages, pain and suffering, mental anguish and loss of enjoyment of life.
McBride maintains she performed her obligation under the reward contract and that the singer never intended to pay the reward.
Ryan Fischer, the singer's dog walker, was strolling with the three dogs just off Sunset Boulevard on Feb. 24, 2021, when he was shot once in the chest with a bullet from a .40-caliber handgun. Two of the dogs were stolen. The third was left behind and later recovered.
After arrests of other alleged participants in the attack, Jaylin Keyshawn White, who was accused of choking Fischer, and Howard Jackson, who allegedly shot Fischer, were placed in adjacent cells and White was recorded lamenting the arrests and referred to McBride by name, according to the singer's attorneys' court papers.
Jackson pleaded no contest to attempted murder and was sentenced to 21 years in prison in December. White pleaded no contest to second-degree robbery and was sentenced in August 2022 to four years in prison.