The Material Girl will have to live without some of her most prized possessions — including a love letter from the late rapper Tupac Shakur— because the pop star waited too long to sue for their return, a Manhattan judge ruled Monday.
Madonna had just three years under New York state law to recover a trove of “highly personal items” that went missing after she moved out of her Miami home around 2004.
The pop star claimed she didn’t realize the items were gone until online auctioneer Gotta Have It! Collectibles put the love letter, a hairbrush containing her blonde locks, a pair of satin panties, and other memorabilia up for sale in July 2017.
Madonna sued the auctioneer and former art consultant Darlene Lutz over the sale. She won a temporary stay blocking the auction last summer.
But now Manhattan Supreme Court Judge Gerald Lebovits has released the items citing the short statute of limitations.
“Mere ignorance or lack of discovery of the wrong is not sufficient to toll the statute,” Lebovits writes in the ruling released Monday.
Even if Madonna had discovered her possessions missing years earlier, a 2004 settlement Lutz paid the singer over a dispute about artwork released her from “any and all” future claims, the judge found.
“Sophisticated parties having negotiated an extraordinarily broad release with their eyes open with the aid of counsel cannot later invalidate that release by claiming ignorance of the depth of their fiduciary’s misconduct,” Lebovits writes.
Lutz and Madonna’s longtime friendship deteriorated after they brokered the settlement.
Lutz’s attorney, Judd Grossman, declared a “complete win” for his client.
“From day one it was clear that this case should never have been filed and that Madonna did so solely to exact personal revenge on an old foe,” Grossman said.
“Darlene Lutz has now been totally vindicated,” he added.
A lawyer for Madonna did not immediately return a message for comment.
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