Lady Gaga is a defendant in a class action lawsuit that claims she pocketed money from the sale of her We Pray For Japan wristbands, allegedly inflating the shipping fees and taking a portion of the $5 cost of each bracelet.
Multiple statements in association with the sale of the wristbands on Lady Gaga's official store website promise that all proceeds will go to Tsunami Relief efforts and/or Japan Relief efforts.
The We Pray for Japan wristbands have reportedly raised $3 million for victims of the March 2011 earthquake and tsunami in Japan.
The lawsuit is being brought by the dubiously named 1-800-LAW-FIRM, a 'legal network' that is now promoting the class action suit on its homepage - including a popup 'ad' featuring Gaga in a mock-mugshot, which solicits subscription information of visitors who wish to stay up to date on the Lady Gaga suit.
Alyson Oliver, a lawyer with 1-800-LAW FIRM, told the International Business Times that there is only one named plaintiff in the class action suit at the moment, a Michigan woman by the name of Caitlin DeMetsenare who was chagrined about the shipping costs of the wristbands and called the legal network to file a complaint.
While it appears there is no minimum number of 'named' plaintiffs required for a class action lawsuit, the plaintiff must demonstrate numerosity, which Oliver indicated should not be a problem due to the number of people who purchased the wristbands. But there seems to be some question about whether the money in dispute qualifies for a federal class action claim.
An item in the claim reads: Jurisdiction is proper in this court pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1332(d), because there are at least 100 Class Members in the proposed Class, the combined claims of proposed Class Members exceed $5,000,000 exclusive of interest and costs, and at least one Class Member is a citizen of a state other than Defendants' state of citizenship.
When asked about the $5 million number, Oliver said that it is just one basis of federal jurisdiction. Oliver also reiterated an earlier statement made to the press regarding initial outreach to the defendants, who responded by conceding that some of the money was being retained.
Oliver said that the first priority now is obtaining a full accounting from the defendants (Stefani Germonatta, aka Lady Gaga, is one of eight named); admitting that it is challenging to determine the direction of the lawsuit without having crucial information about the numbers. She said she hopes for a speedy and thorough response from Gaga's attorneys.
This isn't a case that should linger on and on, Oliver said.