Last week Lady Gaga agreed to settle a federal FLSA overtime lawsuit filed by her former assistant, who claimed she’d been ripped off for overtime. The assistant claimed that she was at Gaga’s “beck and call” during the 2009-to-2011 “Monster Ball” tours — and that the singer owed her 7,168 hours of overtime and about $400,000 in damages. That's a lot of overtime.
The settlement reportedly followed a poor deposition performance by Gaga.
Depositions really are amazing tools. For those who may not know, a deposition is a kind of formal interview that typically takes place in a conference room. The parties or their representatives are present. Their lawyers are present. Basically one side's lawyer gets to spend the day asking questions to the other side's witness. And, with minimal exceptions, the witness must answer those questions...under oath....on the record. The deposition is by far the most important weapon in the lawyer's discovery tool box. There is no better vehicle for getting at the truth of the matter in a case.
As Lady Gaga apparently learned, being famous doesn't help you in a deposition. Being rich or powerful is of little assistance in a deposition. What you look like, the car you drive and the clothes/costume you wear are all but irrelevant in a deposition. All that matters is what you say. And according to this report from the ABAJournal, Lady Gaga said plenty.
“She thinks she’s just like the queen of the universe,” Gaga said of [the Plaintiff]. “And, you know what, she didn’t want to be a slave to one, because in my work and what I do, I’m the queen of the universe every day.”
Gaga said her employees work no more than eight hours daily, though the time is spaced out throughout the day. “You don’t get a schedule that is like you punch in and you can play f---ing Tetris at your desk for four hours and then you punch out at the end of the day,” Gaga said. “This is—when I need you, you’re available.”
In a deposition its the words that matter and these words amount to money in the bank for this overtime plaintiff. I'm sure Lady Gaga's laywer is an excellent attorney who did his/her level best to explain to his/her client about the importance of the words she used. But in the heat of the moment powerful people often can't contain themselves. They know better. They don't need to follow the directions of their attorney. They aren't afraid of this plaintiff's lawyer. After all, they are the "queen of the universe."
The case quickly settled and the plaintiff got justice.
I like depositions.