Judge May Sweep Away Madonna Lawsuit

05/16/2003 at 01:00 AM EDT



A Los Angeles judge is deciding whether a breach-of-contract lawsuit against Madonna and her husband, Guy Ritchie, should be tossed out of court because an opposing lawyer missed a hearing, the Associated Press reports.

The suit, filed in October by Vincent D'Onofrio (not the actor), claims he originally gave the couple the idea to remake "Swept Away," and they failed to pay or credit him.

The finished film, slaughtered by critics and laden with Razzies (for the worst achievement onscreen), was one of 2002's biggest flops and was quickly yanked from American theaters. It never even opened theatrically in Ritchie's native England.

Superior Court Judge Soussan G. Bruguera did not indicate at this week's hearing when she might rule on a possible dismissal, says AP.

The jurist also considered a request for D'Onofrio's attorney, Morris Getzels, to pay more than $1,000 to compensate the Ritchies' lawyers for the cost of appearing at an April 1 hearing that he failed to attend -- because, he said according to AP, "I just got confused."

Hayes F. Michel, the Ritchies' attorney, declined to comment.

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