Lady Gaga may have legions of devoted fans, but her former assistant is not one of them. In fact, she is suing the pop star for thousands of dollars in unpaid overtime.
Lady Gaga likely failed to help her case when she testified at a recent deposition. She broke one of the cardinal rules of depositions—don’t lose your cool.
According to media reports, Lady Gaga was not wearing her “Poker Face” when she called plaintiff Jenifer O’Neill a “[expletive deleted] hood rat who is suing me for money that she didn’t earn.”
In defending the lawsuit, Lady Gaga maintains that O’Neill was often not working as an assistant, but enjoying the perks of being her friend, noting that she “slept in Egyptian cotton sheets every night, in five-star hotels, on private planes, eating caviar…” She also expressed little sympathy for O’Neill’s position. “She's just- she thinks she's just like the queen of the universe," Gaga ranted. "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."
While depositions can sometimes get contentious, deponents should always leave the arguments for the attorneys. Using foul language or being combative will rarely help your case. If you show that you can be provoked during a deposition, the opposing lawyer will know that its possible to also push your buttons on the stand, should the case go to trial.
Deponents also do not want to provide any information that can be used at trial to paint an unflattering picture. While it is important to answer questions honestly, the deposition is not your opportunity to tell your side of the story. This should be reserved for court pleadings and, if necessary, trial testimony. Referring to the plaintiff as a "hood rat" and herself as the "queen of the world" does not make Lady Gaga a sympathetic party, even if the plaintiff was "Born This Way.”
For additional tips for avoiding deposition traps, please see our prior post.
If you have any questions about depositions or would like to discuss how they may impact business litigation, please contact me, Michael Cifelli, or the Scarinci Hollenbeck attorney with whom you work.