Suing Streisand for not staying retired?

by Walter Olson on June 16, 2006

According to the New York Daily News’ columnists Rush & Molloy (Jun. 13): “Barbra Streisand’s emergence from ‘retirement’ has set off a buzz among longtime Streisand fans, who say they paid exorbitant amounts of money for her last ‘retirement’ tour and may file a class-action suit against the legend for tricking them into thinking they were seeing her for the final time.”

For those who find this idea utterly far-fetched, it should be noted that quite a number of years ago an unsuccessful class-action suit was pursued against General Motors following its reintroduction of convertible Cadillac models; a few years earlier, some enthusiasts had purchased some other convertible Caddies following press buzz about how they were going to be the last convertibles built in America.

{ 10 comments }

1 Laser Eyes 06.16.06 at 1:07 am

Something similar happened in Australia a few years ago with a singer named John Farnham. http://www.crikey.com.au/articles/2004/09/08-0002.html

2 Peter 06.16.06 at 7:28 am

Besides the “un-retirement” issue, aren’t there public nuisance laws that would prevent Babs from singing again?

Too, if this theory is successful, a lot of furniture stores that have been “going out of business” for years will be closed permanently.

3 Jim Collins 06.16.06 at 1:19 pm

If her previous tour was promoted as her last tour then I have to buy into this one. To me this is a plain and simple case of fraud. Along the same lines how about Disney promoting the release of videos like “Sleeping Beauty” as their final release and then releasing them again 10 years later?

4 Reformed Republican 06.16.06 at 2:50 pm

Considering all of the musical performers who have had retirement tours, and how few have actually stayed retired, I do not think anyone actually believes a retirement tour to be the last.

Do they?

5 Jake 06.16.06 at 7:23 pm

This is wacky. The wannabe plaintiffs must theorize that Streisand’s exercise of free will in pursuing employment works some kind of tort?

What’s next? A beats out B in interviews for a job, and B’s dashed expectations give her a cause of action?

6 Alan 06.18.06 at 12:46 am

What about Michael Jordan? Hasn’t he retired at least four times?

7 Jim Collins 06.19.06 at 3:48 pm

When you bought a ticket for one of Michael Jordan’s basketball games, the ticket was to see the team that he was playing for at the time not Jordan specifically. Here you are paying to see a performance by a specific person that is being promoted as the last chance to see that person perform. If it can be proven that tickets to this performance were sold at a premium price because of the promise of the performer’s retirement, then I think that there is a case for fraud. To me this has more logic to it than alot of the lawsuits that I read about on this website.

8 Jake 06.19.06 at 10:24 pm

The lawsuit has no logic whatsoever, unless you hypothesize that Streisand v.1, a number of years ago, covenanted not to compete with Streisand v.2 today. Not that I would put it past Streisand to entertain the belief that she can contract with herself…. Maybe her fans can entertain such a fantasy as well….

9 Deoxy 06.20.06 at 11:21 am

Actually, I think Jim Collins is right on this one.

It’s a fairly high hurdle, but IF the previous tour (and associated CDs, etc) were specifically claimed to be the “last time she’ll ever be on tour”, and then she tours again, then the previous claims are quite clearly false.

Now, you get into a whole realm of damages, fredom to work, etc, etc, etc, and it’s very messy, but this all stems from an alleged claim made by the Streisand’s marketing folks… which they appear not to have fulfilled.

The consqunces portion is messy, but the initial claim (provided they have sufficient proof) is fairly standard stuff: they (allegedly) made a claim, and that claim was false.

10 Ima Fish 06.20.06 at 1:36 pm

“Actually, I think Jim Collins is right on this one.”

Nope, he’s wrong.

Jim wrote: “To me this is a plain and simple case of fraud.”

Future promises cannot constitute fraud unless the Plaintiff could show bad faith on the part of Streisand. Which would be a very high burden as I think everyone believes she intended to retire, but merely changed her mind.

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