Lady Gaga and her ex-boyfriend, Rob Fusari, may have agreed to drop the lawsuits they filed against each other, but that doesn't mean the battle over the origins of the superstar vocalist has ended.
Yet another major player in the early evolution of Gaga, longtime friend and singer Wendy Starland, has come forward to claim her part in Gaga's success, courtesy of yet another major lawsuit. According to Forbes, Starland, who introduced Gaga (born Stefani Germanotta) to Fusari in the first place, filed suit on Friday in Newark Federal Court claiming that Fusari cut a deal with her in 2005 in which he promised her a piece of the action if she found him a female singer he could work with.
Starland claims in the suit that Fusari asked her to find a "unique female singer, under the age of 25, who could be the female equivalent of the lead singer of the band the Strokes." The producer allegedly promised Starland that if she "could find and introduce him to such a singer, they would work together to develop the singer and share equally in any revenues earned as a result."
Starland claims she agreed to that deal and a short time later she did just that, introducing Fusari to Gaga after she saw the Stefani Germanotta Band perform at the Cutting Room in New York in March 2006. Though they reportedly had an oral agreement to collaborate on songs and develop Gaga together, Starland claims she was cut out of the deal in May 2006 when Fusari entered into an agreement to pursue a record contract for Gaga.
Once Gaga signed a record deal with a major label, Starland claims in the suit that she asked Fusari again if he would share any revenue he received from his deal with Gaga and he agreed to, but then never did.
To date, Starland says she hasn't gotten any compensation from Fusari for helping to discover Gaga. She is suing the producer and his company for breach of contract, breach of fiduciary duty, unjust enrichment and quantum meruit (a legal term that translates into "as much as he has deserved," and refers to a situation in which someone agrees to work for another for unspecified payment but expects to be compensated based on what they deserve for their labors).
Radar Online reported that Starland is demanding a jury trial in the case and seeking "an amount in excess of $75,000" including "one half of Fusari's profits, including future profits."
According to Forbes, Fusari has not yet commented on the Starland lawsuit. Earlier this month Gaga and Fusari agreed to drop their respective lawsuits. Fusari had claimed in a $30.5 million suit that he had a major hand in creating Gaga's persona and crafting her musical personality way back in 2006, co-writing such hits as "Paparazzi" and "Beautiful, Dirty, Rich" on Gaga's multiplatinum debut, The Fame. Gaga then filed a countersuit, saying the agreement she'd signed with Fusari was "unlawful." It's unknown whether the two reached a monetary agreement to end the dueling lawsuits.