Bruce Springsteen and his wife are being sued for allegedly backing out of a contract to buy a horse worth $850,000 for their teenage daughter.
Olympic equestrian Todd Minikus filed the breach of contract lawsuit Thursday in Florida’s Palm Beach County. It claims Springsteen and Patti Scialfa reneged on a deal to pay Minikus $650,000 for the horse, named Pavarotti, and give him their horse named Scarlett, worth $200,000.
The lawsuit says the couple, who live in Monmouth County and own Stone Hill Farm, put a $25,000 deposit on Pavarotti in July, but later had second thoughts about whether the horse was right for their daughter Jessica.
Minikus, a former member of the U.S. Equestrian Team, claims the Springsteens had a change of heart after he rode the 10-year-old gelding at the Pan American Games in Brazil. That event was held after the contract was signed but before the transaction was complete, he says.
Before the competition, Minikus described Pavarotti as the least experienced horse on his squad.
“This case involves a simple matter of parties on one side of a contract getting cold feet and attempting to avoid their obligations,” the lawsuit says. “The cold-footed parties are entertainers Bruce and Patti Springsteen.”
Minikus is seeking damages, and compensation for the continued daily upkeep of Pavarotti. He claims the horse has diminished in value since the Pan Am Games, in part because the famous couple backed out of the deal.
Springsteen representative Marilyn Laverty said in an e-mail Friday that she had no information about the lawsuit, which was first reported in the South Florida Sun-Sentinel.
Three lawyers for Minikus didn’t return messages for comment Friday, and no lawyers for Springsteen and Scialfa are listed on the lawsuit.
The lawsuit describes their daughter as “a budding young rider,” and says she rode Pavarotti twice in a “schooling ring” in Lake Placid, N.Y. It also says the Springsteens had their veterinarian examine Pavarotti before signing the contract.