Gaga order | Marcel Strigberger

By Marcel Strigberger

Law360 Canada (March 3, 2023, 2:39 PM EST) --
Marcel Strigberger
Marcel Strigberger
Is the legal system in going gaga over Lady Gaga? 

Jennifer McBride is suing the singer for the $500,000 reward she offered to anybody who safely returns her French bulldogs, which were kidnapped during a violent gunpoint robbery two years ago on a Los Angeles street by a handful of thugs. These guys eventually were arrested and sentenced to jail terms of multiple years.

Lady Gaga posted the reward offer noting that she was heartbroken and that the $500k would be paid “no questions asked.” The little problem is that McBride was implicated in the robbery and eventually pleaded no contest to a charge of possession of stolen property. Ah huh you say! Chutzpah? (a.k.a. as effrontery, nerve, or cheek for those not familiar with this Yiddish term).

Offhand McBride’s case looks like a dog’s breakfast. Presumably her lawyer feels comfortable about the legal action. Then again he should remain somewhat suspicious about his client. Watch out for red flags, such as her asking, “Sir, any idea who owns that French poodle out there in the hallway?”

And we are not talking only suing for the reward. The claim in the Superior Court alleges breach of contract, fraudulent misrepresentation etc., and even includes a claim for damages for mental distress and loss of enjoyment of life.

I’m sure we can all understand the part about the loss of enjoyment of life. After all $500,000 can buy you a fair bit of enjoyment. You can even go out and purchase a couple of pure breed French bulldogs.

The legal question is, is there a breach of contract? After all, there was an offer and an acceptance. Doesn’t this sound similar to that iconic Carlill v. Carbolic Smoke Ball case back in England in 1893 where the smoke ball company offered 100 pounds to anyone who used their product and still contracted the flu? The court found for the plaintiff Lilli Carlill, noting that the defendant’s advertisement constituted an enforceable contract and was not mere puffery.

This Gaga dogs case in my view is very similar in principle. I would say it is on all fours with the Smoke Ball. 

Does it matter that there was something shady about the McBride’s connection to the robbers? You might then ask would it have made a difference if Lilli Carlill would have come down with the flu had she used a stolen smoke ball? Then again, who in their right mind would steal a smoke ball?

Also the thieves tried to nab three French bulldogs but succeeded in nabbing only two. Koji and Gustav. A third one, Asia, escaped. The police eventually located Asia. My question is, would the police officers also be entitled to this reward? After all the reward offer is unconditional.  

McBride’s lawyer will have some interesting work cut out for him in this legal action. For example at the examination for discovery or deposition as the Americans call it, he may have to play hardball when Lady Gaga’s lawyer starts the questioning of McBride:

GAGA’S LAWYER: For the record madam, what is your name.

MCBRIDE’S LAWYER: Don’t answer that question. This case is an “ask no questions” case,

And the trial could be interesting as well. I can just visualize McBride’s lawyer with his opening questions as he establishes her background for the jury:

 MCBRIDE’S LAWYER: Ms. McBride, as for your occupation, I understand you are a fence …

Hey, better it comes out right at the beginning.

I also wonder how this case might resolve. Certainly McBride is the underdog. But can it settle out of court? I doubt Lady Gaga will pay McBride any cash. I have a suggestion. This is win-win. Why doesn’t she offer to do a benefits concert at the jail where McBride’s accomplices are guests. 

Marcel Strigberger retired from his Greater Toronto Area litigation practice and continues the more serious business of humorous author and speaker. His book Boomers, Zoomers, and Other Oomers: A Boomer-biased Irreverent Perspective on Aging is now available in paper and e-book versions where books are sold. Visit Follow him @MarcelsHumour.

The opinions expressed are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of the author’s firm, its clientsLexisNexis Canada, Law360 Canada, or any of its or their respective affiliates. This article is for general information purposes and is not intended to be and should not be taken as legal advice.

Interested in writing for us? To learn more about how you can add your voice to Law360 Canada, contact Analysis Editor Peter Carter at or call 647-776-6740.

LexisNexis® Research Solutions