Finally some excellent news to report. According to the case summary, on June 26th MJ Estate filed their summary judgment motion to dismiss Wade Robson’s case. When we went to the court to get the Robson documents, we also asked about any filings at Safechuck case and we found out that Judge Beckloff ruled on June 28th on the Estate’s demurrer and dismissed Safechuck’s case for good. Time to celebrate.
I want to briefly comment on the Judge’s ruling as well as what this means for Robson case. Judge's full ruling can be found here: https://www.scribd.com/document/353219745/Safechuck-Ruling-Demurrer-Dismissal
Keep in mind that for the purposes of demurrer, the judge is required by law to accept all the claims by Safechuck as true and only determines if there is a legal basis for the lawsuit. Also I want to emphasize that judge summarizing Safechuck allegations in his ruling doesn’t mean he believes them. In fact, the Judge even notes the requirement on page 9 of the ruling: "Accepting plaintiff's allegations as true (as the court must on demurrer except to the extent such factual allegations are contradicted by prior pleadings or judicially noticeable facts)...". Estate is also limited as they cannot present any new evidence at the demurrer phase. They can only argue against Safechuck’s claims using the law and the precedent cases.
Now according to the law, sexual abuse cases against nonperpetrator entities – MJ Companies in this instance- can be brought prior to plaintiff’s 26th birthday. Safechuck was 36 years old when he filed this complaint. There is one exception to the 26th birthday rule. This exception requires that (a) entity knew or had reason to know of any unlawful sexual conduct of employee and (b) failed to take reasonable steps to prevent or avoid such unlawful conduct.
In the latest amended complaint by the new lawyers, Safechuck also made several negligence claims – negligent hiring, retention, supervision, failure to warn etc. According to the law for any negligence claim Safechuck needs to demonstrate the MJ Companies had a legal duty towards Safechuck. This requires to demonstrate (a) special relationship between the MJ Companies and Safechuck and (b) “ability to control the person that needs to be controlled”. A Supreme Court ruling said “the entity defendant must have some ability to control the sexual abuse perpetrator”. This means Safechuck needed to demonstrate that MJ Companies had control over Michael.
Beckloff expressed his concerns about Safechuck’s employment claims. Safechuck alleged he was employed back in 1988 and was compensated with travel, lodging, clothing etc. Beckloff was sceptical about that employment claims. Beckloff noted the internship Safechuck did in 1994/95 – after alleged abuse ended- was more traditional and formal employment. But despite his scepticism, for the demurrer purposes Beckloff accepted Safechuck’s claims that he was employed back in 1988 and considered it enough to demonstrate a special relationship between MJ Companies and Safechuck. This is once again because on demurrer he is required to accept anything plaintiff claims as true and therefore, as he notes on page 11, he treated those claims of employment by Safechuck liberally for demurrer purposes: “Considered liberally and read together, the court assumes for purposes of this demurrer that these allegations are sufficient to demonstrate a special relationship between the then minor plaintiff and the entity defendants.” It does not mean he personally believes Safechuck, or that he believes he was indeed employed by the MJ Companies since 1988, or makes any judgement about the truthfulness of his claims at all. He simply has a requirement to treat Plaintiff’s claims as true on a demurrer.
In his complaint Safechuck’s had claimed that Norma Staikos told an employee “not to leave children alone in a room with Michael Jackson”. As the judge was required to accept these claims as true in demurrer, he classified this as Safechuck being a foreseeable victim.
After that it went downhill for Safechuck. The control issue ended it for him. Judge stated that there must be an ability or right to control. As we explained before, Michael Jackson was the sole shareholder and only owner of MJJ Productions and MJJ Ventures. This meant Michael had absolute control over the MJ Companies and everyone employed by them. This alone meant Safechuck cannot succeed in satisfying the legal requirements so the judge dismissed his complaint with no chance to amend.
Sure, Safechuck can appeal this decision but the odds of being successful is slim. This ruling also signals that Robson won’t be able to succeed in the control aspect as well.
A few tidbits:
During the hearing for demurrer, Judge Beckloff asked Safechuck’s lawyers about the control issue. They argued that an employee of MJ Companies should have refused to make travel arrangements for Safechuck. In his ruling Judge says this doesn’t establish control requirement.
Legal side aside think about this for a second. Safechuck’s “genius” lawyer basically argues that Michael asks Norma to make travel arrangements for Safechuck and Norma could have said no and refuse to do the reservations. That would “control” Michael and stop any alleged abuse in their minds. Realistically though Norma would have gotten fired and someone else, even an outside travel agent could have done reservations.
Finally this gem:
During demurrer hearing Robson and Safechuck lawyer argued that Safechuck and Robson cases are basically the same thing and they cannot be separated. Judge commented that Estate lawyers also agree with that. Estate lawyer stated that they agree and they believe they will succeed in Safechuck demurrer and Robson summary judgment. “We’ll see about that” Robson / Safechuck lawyer said.
Yeah we saw about that. Estate DID succeed in their Safechuck demurrer. This also might be the one and only time that we at Daily Michael agree with Robson/Safechuck lawyers. It’s the same claims about the same entities, so you cannot separate these cases. That’s why according to us Safechuck’s loss in control issue means Robson will lose in the control issue as well. Suddenly Robson’s recent “healing” and going back to dancing in the entertainment business makes sense. He should know that he ain’t getting a dime from The Bank of Michael Jackson.
Next week we will have several posts about Estate’s summary judgment motion in Robson case as well as the Joy Robson deposition. As a teaser, I will say that in their summary judgment Estate heavily relied on Joy Robson deposition. Mommy dearest wasn’t much of a help, especially when she called her son Wade an Oscar worthy liar.