A woman previously arrested and charged in connection with stealing two of Lady Gaga’s three French bulldogs in 2021 will have to shore up her complaint in which the plaintiff seeks to collect on the $500,000 reward offer the singer issued for the return of the animals, a judge ruled Monday.
Plaintiff Jennifer McBride returned Lady Gaga’s dogs in February 2021. She alleges in a complaint filed Feb. 24 in Los Angeles Superior Court that the singer defrauded her into surrendering the pets with the promise that no questions would be posed if the pets were returned.
But Gaga’s attorneys maintain McBride was part of a conspiracy to steal the animals. On Monday, Judge Holly J. Fujie said she will give the plaintiff another chance to convince her the lawsuit should move forward by filing an amended complaint within 20 days, but she stated in her written ruling that under the state Civil Code “no one can take advantage” of his or her own wrongdoing.
“If plaintiff files an amended pleading that is successfully challenged … the court will consider denying plaintiff further leave to amend,” the judge said.
In their court papers, Gaga’s lawyers maintained McBride seeks to profit from her own wrongdoing.
“The law does not allow a person to commit a crime and then profit from it,” Gaga’s lawyers argued in their court papers.
On Feb. 26, 2021, two days after her dogs were stolen, Gaga — whose real name is Stefani J. Germanotta — tweeted that she would pay $500,000 for the safe return of her stolen dogs, 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 stated in their court papers.
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, Gaga’s lawyers maintained in their court papers.
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 Gaga never intended to pay the reward.
Ryan Fischer, Gaga’s dog walker, was strolling with the singer’s 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 James Howard Jackson, who allegedly shot Fischer, were placed in adjacent cells and White was recorded lamenting about the arrests and referred to McBride by name, according to Gaga’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 last August to four years in prison.