Lady Gaga doesn’t have to pay $500,000 reward to dognapper accomplice

user avatar Author: Editors Desk Source: The Washington Post
October 4, 2023 at 11:24
Lady Gaga has not publicly commented on the lawsuit’s outcome.
Lady Gaga in 2018. (Andreas Rentz/Getty Images)
Lady Gaga in 2018. (Andreas Rentz/Getty Images)

A woman convicted in a plot to steal Lady Gaga’s bulldogs at gunpoint is not entitled to a $500,000 reward for returning them, a judge ruled Monday, bringing an end to the pop star’s long-running dognapping debacle.

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Judge Holly J. Fujie said Lady Gaga was not responsible for giving Jennifer McBride the half-million-dollar reward, nor any money for alleged damages and emotional distress, according to a Los Angeles County Superior Court document filed Monday.

“No one can take advantage of his own wrong,” the judge wrote in a ruling notice. “A plaintiff must come into court with clean hands, and keep them clean, or be denied relief, regardless of the merits of the claim.”

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Lady Gaga, whose legal name is Stefani Germanotta, pleaded with the public for help after two of her three French bulldogs were stolen from her dog walker Ryan Fischer in February 2021. During the ambush, Fischer was shot and seriously injured.

“My beloved dogs Koji and Gustav were taken in Hollywood,” Lady Gaga posted on social media. “ … I will pay $500,000 for their safe return.” In a separate post, she continued: “If you bought or found them unknowingly, the reward is the same.”

Within two hours, McBride, 53, brought the stolen dogs to a police station in Los Angeles.

She was arrested along with four other suspects the following April, after detectives learned that McBride knew the father of one of the suspects. L.A. County Deputy District Attorney Michele Hanisee said McBride was meant to look like “the innocent lady who just happened to find the dogs,” citing footage that showed McBride taking the dogs shortly after someone in a Jeep drove up and tied them to a streetlight. She pleaded no contest and was convicted in December of receiving stolen property and sentenced to two years of probation.

But McBride still wanted the $500,000. She sued Lady Gaga for breach of contract and fraud in February, alleging that she felt entitled to the money with the understanding that the reward would be paid for the return of the bulldogs, “no questions asked.” In the complaint, McBride claimed that she only had the dogs to safely return them to Lady Gaga and attempt to receive the money.

Lady Gaga has not publicly commented on the lawsuit’s outcome, but she applauded Fischer’s efforts to protect her dogs in the hours following the incident.

“I continue to love you Ryan Fischer, you risked your life to fight for our family,” Lady Gaga wrote on social media. “You’re forever a hero.”

Jonathan Edwards, Meryl Kornfield and Andrew Jeong contributed to this report.

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