At the end of December 2016, MJ Estate filed a motion to compel Wade Robson to produce essential documents. This motion to compel showed us how Wade Robson was blatantly and repeatedly lying to withhold discovery from MJ Estate. Please check the previous two blog posts about this topic at the following links “Busted! Wade Robson got caught hiding evidence and shopping a tell-all book” and “Excerpts from Wade and Joy Robson Depositions and E-mails”.
A hearing on motion to compel happened on February 2nd, 2017 and from case summary we saw that the judge granted Estate’s request. However we didn’t know the specifics of the ruling. Recently a copy of the order was filed with the court so we were able to get it.
According to the judge’s ruling, Robson is ordered to
- - Produce all responsive documents in his possession, custody and control
- - Search his previously produced emails determine whether they have attachments and reproduce each email together with its attachments
- - Produce unredacted versions of emails to/from/ cc’ed/bbc’ed to any members of his family
- - Produce unredacted versions of emails to/from/cc’ed/bbc’ed to Helen Yu where a third party who is not a lawyer is a sender or recipient of the email.
- - This includes emails that were sent to Alan Nevins the literary agent
- - Emails solely between Wade Robson and Helen Yu don’t need to be produced.
- - Produce all drafts and versions of his book in their original format with all electronic and metadata information intact
- - Prepare and sign a declaration that details
- - All steps he took to search for and locate responsive documents
- - Why he was unable to locate some emails produced by his mother and sister
- - All steps he took to preserve potentially responsive documents since filing this case
This is a huge victory for MJ Estate. They would be able to get all those emails that Robson refused to turn over and/or redacted, they would get the book drafts with metadata and also an explanation as to why Robson failed to produce some emails that his family produced.
Discovery wise Estate got almost everything they asked for. Judge denied Estate’s request for forensic examination of Robson’s devices without prejudice for the time being. Without prejudice means that if Robson still fails to provide the responsive documents and cannot explain why he can’t locate them, Estate can renew their request for a forensic examination. The Judge also denied Estate’s request for monetary sanctions – which based on past examples at other cases almost never gets granted.
It would be interesting to see the exchanges between Robson family members as well as the emails including the literary agent.
Also yesterday on March 13th 2017, a scheduling conference happened and the judge set the trial date for March 5th, 2018. This was a routine scheduling. It allows the judge to set the schedule/ cut off dates for discovery, exchange of expert reports, summary judgment and even a trial. Setting a date for a trial doesn’t mean this case will go to trial. It can get dismissed during summary judgment phase.
In the initial demurer phase, the judge needs to accept everything alleged in the complaint as true and only determines if there is a legal basis for the lawsuit. However in the summary judgment phase, MJ Estate can bring counter evidence. Once Estate can fight back against these claims a lot will change. So don’t worry about a trial date is being set. That’s normal routine procedure and this is far from over.
Yesterday one media source reported the new trial date. True to tabloid nature it included a salacious headline and several blatant misinformation –such as claiming Norma Staikos contacted the Robsons to arrange a meeting with MJ at LA when the exact opposite is true.Robsons contacted Staikos.
Robson’s lawyer once again took this chance to give statement to the media trashing Michael. In that statement he said the "next 12 months will be spent gaining access to the materials needed for a much-anticipated trial". I don’t know why he is acting like discovery is just starting in this case. It’s not. First of all some discovery happened at the probate cases, discovery had also started in the civil cases. These included getting old law enforcement files, interrogatories, mental examinations, depositions and so on. This whole motion to compel is about a discovery dispute. We know Wade, his mother and sister has already been deposed. We know other third party depositions happened. We know how Jordan Chandler and his sister refusing to be deposed. So discovery has been going on for a really long time in this case. If Robson’s lawyers haven’t find the materials they needed by now, I suspect they would never find the non-existent evidence.