Madonna has lost her bid to prevent the auction of her old personal belongings, including a love letter she received from rapper Tupac Shakur while he was in jail.
Art consultant Darlene Lutz had teamed up with bosses at Gotta Have It! Collectibles last July to put a number of the singer’s old items, including a note sent to Madonna by her ex-boyfriend, the late Tupac, up for sale.
However, the Material Girl hitmaker objected to the money-making move and obtained a temporary restraining order blocking the sale, alleging the collectibles had been wrongfully taken from her after moving out of her Miami, Florida home in 2004.
She then filed suit in New York in August (2017) in an effort to halt the auction indefinitely.
Lutz fought back, insisting the lawsuit should be dismissed because she had been given the belongings by Madonna herself while they were friends, but the singer maintained she was unaware the items, which also included a hairbrush containing strands of her hair, and a pair of her unwashed panties, had been in Lutz’s possession until she learned of the online sale.
Now Manhattan Supreme Court Judge Gerald Lebovits has ruled in Lutz’s favour, declaring Madonna waited too long to try and reclaim the pieces of memorabilia.
Under the statute of limitations, the singer had until 2007 to make a claim for the goods, reports the New York Post.
“Mere ignorance or lack of discovery of the wrong is not sufficient to toll the statute,” he wrote in his ruling, released on Monday (April 23).
He also pointed to an apparent release Madonna had signed in 2004 after settling a dispute with Lutz over some artwork, which banned the pop superstar from taking future legal action.
“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,” he explained.
Madonna has yet to comment on the court decision, but Lutz’s attorney, Judd Grossman, is celebrating what he’s called 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,” he said. “Darlene Lutz has now been totally vindicated.”