10:03am PT by Eriq Gardner
Madonna Brings Theft Lawsuit Over Underwear, 'Evita' Headpiece and Other Memorabilia
Madonna is now demanding the return of personal property including underwear, her original résumé, handwritten song lyrics, a checkbook, a used hairbrush with her hair still on it, the headpiece she wore during the filming of Evita, cassette tapes of unreleased sound recordings and memorabilia from her storied career.
The pop legend scored a temporary restraining order last month with regards to "intensely personal" letters to Tupac Shakur. On Tuesday, she filed a complaint in New York Supreme Court looking to stop Darlene Lutz and Gotta Have Rock and Roll from consummating the sale at auction of some of her other alleged belongings.
She's alleging conversion, describing Lutz in the complaint as a "former friend" who provided services to her as an "art consultant."
"On several occasions, Plaintiff welcomed Defendant Lutz into her homes, including as a frequent overnight guest," states the complaint. "Defendant Lutz also assisted with the packing up of Plaintiff’s former homes, including a former home in Miami and a former apartment in New York. Upon information and belief, Defendant Lutz gained possession of certain of Plaintiff’s belongings when they were sent to Defendant Lutz’s storage facility in order to aid in facilitating the sale of Plaintiff’s former residences at a time when Plaintiff and Defendant Lutz were friends and when Defendant Lutz performed professional art consulting services for Plaintiff."
Madonna acknowledges that at the time Lutz took possession of her belongings, it was lawful. But the singer says the two had a falling out in 2004 and that she wasn't personally aware that Lutz continued to maintain possession.
Notice of an online auction changed that.
Although Madonna raced to court and enjoined sale of the Tupac letters, an auction for some of the other memorabilia commenced on July 19.
The property was consigned, but the complaint says Gotta Have Rock and Roll and its owners "performed little or no due diligence to ensure that the consignors of the Madonna Memorabilia had good and marketable title to, or any other legitimate basis to consign for sale, the Madonna Memorabilia."
The items were sold at auction, but like a prayer for relief, Madonna demands an injunction on transfers, a judicial accounting of proceeds, the directing of return of property and compensatory and punitive damages.
Lutz has a different story.
She, of course, has not yet responded to the just-filed complaint, but her version came in a July 19 motion to vacate the temporary restraining order over the Tupac letters.
"This lawsuit is pretext for Madonna’s personal vendetta against Ms. Lutz, whom she already has sued once over a decade ago following a personal falling out," states the memorandum. "Trying to publicly smear Ms. Lutz — which apparently has worked, as one media publication already has referred to these items as 'the trophies of a seasoned stalker' — Madonna claims that Ms. Lutz stole 'intensely private and intimate property,' including 'previously worn underwear.' But Madonna conveniently omits that she had sent her 'under-wear' with a handwritten note to a former love interest 'as you requested' 'for love & luck.' If Madonna truly wanted privacy, then mailing her lingerie was not the way to go."
According to Lutz, the two entered into a settlement agreement with each other in 2004.
"The Settlement Agreement required Ms. Lutz to pay Madonna a certain sum of money, which she did," continues the Lutz memorandum. "Under the Settlement Agreement, Madonna (individually, and on behalf of her heirs, executors, administrators, and trustees) provided the broadest possible general release to Ms. Lutz releasing all claims, known or unknown, 'by reason of any event, transaction or other relationship or cause whatsoever.'”
The Madonna complaint makes no mention of previous litigation between the two, nor the settlement, but in a footnote in her initial court papers, the pop star suggested the release didn't address future claims and that the release "was contingent on Ms. Lutz satisfying particular conditions, which she did not."