It’s summary judgment time! The Estate filed a detailed motion which exposes more of Robson’s lies.
The much anticipated summary judgment motion has arrived. The summary judgment motion is a request by a party (Estate) to dismiss the case before trial, based on the argument that anyone (“any sensible jury”) who looks to the facts of the case and applies the relevant laws, would consequently rule in favor of the moving party (Estate) - which renders the trial unnecessary. For the first time since Robson filed his lawsuit, the Estate can finally introduce any evidence and information that they have uncovered through discovery.
The Estate’s motion for summary judgment focuses on two main aspects: The technical discussion of the relevant laws and the fact Robson cannot satisfy the law requirements. For the second aspect the Estate relies heavily on new details from Joy Robson’s (Wade’s mother) deposition, which debunk many of Wade’s own claims against the companies. It’s poetic justice.
Joy Robson’s deposition and other exhibits that were attached to this Motion will be discussed in detail in another post, coming later. For now, we are going to focus on the Motion alone and the legal aspect that establish this request for summary judgement.
Motion for Summary Judgment - https://www.scribd.com/document/353417846/Mj-Estate-Summary-Judgment-for-Robson
For the case to survive Wade Robson needs to demonstrate two things:
That MJ’s companies, MJJ Productions (MJJP) and MJJ Ventures (MJJV) had requisite degree of control over Michael - and as a result they could have implemented reasonable safeguards to prevent the the alleged abuse (e.g. removing Michael from his job, firing him, not hiring him, moving him to another job - where he couldn’t meet children, etc.)
That Wade Robson was exposed to Michael Jackson as an inherent part of the environment created by the relationship between Michael and MJ Companies.
The Estate argues that Robson cannot demonstrate either, as a matter of law or based on undisputed facts.
First, the control issue. This issue has been discussed before several times, but now the Estate can finally attach evidence which prove that at all relevant times, MJ was the sole shareholder of both companies from their formation to MJ’s passing in 2009. As such, no one at the companies had control over him: he was the one who had control over the companies, not the other way around.
In June 1994, Michael appointed John Branca, Marshall Gelfand and Sandy Gallin to serve as the board of directors with him. The Board of Directors was selected by the sole owner Michael and they could be fired at any time for any reason. It means no employee, officer or director of MJ Companies had any right to control Michael’s business or personal affairs. In his declaration John Branca said while Michael took advice from many people, he was the ultimate decision maker in all regards. This Board of Directors continued until 1997.
Similarly, Michael’s Neverland Ranch and his apartments were never owned by the MJ Companies, but MJ himself. It means no one from the companies could dictate when MJ would come and go, they could not dictate who could or couldn’t visit him and and could not control what he could or could not do in his own home. As it turned out, both Wade and Joy Robson confirmed this fact as well. In her deposition, Joy even recalls an incident where she was reprimanded by “an angry and furious Michael” when she didn’t follow his instructions in Neverland.
The Estate addresses the legal argument by Robson that certain employees should have tried to prevent the alleged abuse, or should not have allowed MJ to be alone with children. Using precedent cases the Estate concludes: "The fact that, hypothetically, some employees conceivably could have objected to Michael being alone with Robson - despite the fact that Robson's own mother was perfectly fine with it (Fact 46) - does not mean that [those employees] had the right to control [Michael's] behavior."
The Estate also addresses Robson's attempt to separate the Corporations from Michael “such that the Corporations could "control" Michael with respect to his (alleged) most personal dealings”. According to the Estate this claim “makes no sense. The Corporations were owned by Michael Jackson. Michael Jackson controlled the Boards of Directors. The officers and directors thus served at the pleasure of Michael Jackson. See, e.g., Corp. Code §§ 303(a), 312(b). But the Corporations could have controlled Michael? How? What human being at the Corporations could have actually done that?"
The Estate further states: “Under the circumstances of this case, where Robson's mother had no objections to Robson and Michael being alone (Fact 46), what "reasonable steps" should the Corporations have taken? What "reasonable safeguards" were the Corporations to impose? Robson has no answer to these questions. And there are none.”
Besides company documents of MJJ Productions and MJJ Ventures, the Estate also uses excerpts from Jolie Levine’s (MJ’s former personal assistant), Gary Hearne’s (MJ’s driver for 15 years) and Gayle Goforth’s (a former maid at Neverland) depositions to show that MJ was in control of the companies and the people employed by them, not the other way around.
Second, the Estate addresses the issue of whether Wade was exposed to MJ as an inherent part of the environment created by the relationship between Michael and MJ Companies.
To understand that, think about an example of a church and a priest. A kid might be exposed to an abusive priest through the church. Wade wasn’t exposed to Michael through the MJ Companies, and the Estate relies on Joy Robson’s deposition to prove it. As a matter of fact, Joy’s deposition exposes many of Wade’s allegations in his complaint as bold-faced lies. We will discuss that in more depth in our next article, focusing specifically on the exhibits.
The Estate points out that “the Corporations are, at best, incidental to the alleged abuse. Like Aaronoff (a precedent case), the alleged abuse predated any fleeting conduct or interactions with the Corporations, and the Corporations had nothing to do with the alleged abuse. Joy Robson could not have been more clear that the reason she trusted Michael Jackson was based on her own trust in him as a person. (...) She did not trust Michael because of his relationship with the Corporations (about which she knows hardly anything). (Fact 48.) No rational jury could conclude that Robson was "exposed to [Michael] as an inherent part of the environment created by the relationship between [Michael] and the [Corporations]." Robson's exposure to Michael was a result of Michael's fame, and the Robson family's resulting pursuit of a friendship with him, not as a result of Michael's relationship to the Corporations.”
Joy testified that Wade was fascinated by Michael since the age of two, because she had shown him Michael’s videos. She testified that when Wade was five years old she entered him into a dance contest in Australia, which was sponsored by Target, Pepsi and CBS Records (and not by MJ’s companies, as Wade claimed). After Wade won the contest, they had a short meet-and-greet with MJ as the prize for the winner. The next night, Wade had the chance to perform on stage with MJ. Then, according to Joy, on the following night, Wade and Joy Robson brought a thank you note to Michael's hotel room and visited with him there for about an hour and a half. All of this had nothing to do with MJ’s companies.
Joy Robson testified that between 1987-1990 she had sent MJ several letters and videos of Wade, hoping to get in touch with him again. Her attempts to contact MJ remained unanswered.
Then, in January 1990, the Robson family came to USA for Wade and Chantal to perform at Disneyland with Johnny Young Talent School. Before leaving Australia, Joy Robson already tried to obtain contact information of Michael, by calling Australian TV channels and asking if they had any sort of contact with him. She got a number for TriStar Pictures and after some more rounds, she eventually managed to obtain MJJ Productions phone number. While in the US, Joy managed to contact Norma Staikos, who arranged for the Robson family to meet Michael at a recording studio. Michael then invited the entire family to Neverland Ranch, including Joy’s parents.
In May 1990, Joy and Wade returned to USA to participate in the famous L.A. Gear photoshoot with Michael. According to Joy’s deposition L.A. Gear paid for this visit - not MJ’s companies. February 1991, Joy and Wade again travelled to USA to visit Michael. In September 1991, Joy moved to USA with Wade and Chantal.
It is important to note that in her deposition, Joy said the Robson family began considering their move to USA in or before November 1990, and it was Wade’s father, Dennis, who first brought up moving to the United States. Joy later asked Michael to sponsor their immigration (she needed a company to sponsor them to be able to get the green cards) and in turn MJ instructed his companies to do so. Joy testified that by the time they moved to the United States, she was good friends with Michael and would have remained friends with him even if he had not sponsored their immigration.
Joy says she hoped Michael would help them with Wade’s career but she quickly learned that Michael was way too busy to help them. Joy says that she had most of the work to get Wade’s career off the ground.
She testified that she knew that Wade, and sometimes Chantal, slept in Michael’s room in the 90s. She says she had no concerns about it. To quote her, Joy says “You just automatically trusted Michael. He was just one of those people. I felt like there was never anything that gave me concern at the time.”
Joy’s trust in MJ had nothing to do with the companies. In an e-mail in November 2012 (so after Wade had changed his story and claimed that MJ molested him) Joy wrote to Wade that "being around Michael had never been about furthering your career for me after we arrived in the States". Also, Joy Robson never mentioned the companies when explaining why she trusted Michael to spend time alone with Wade. In fact, when asked, Joy knew a little about them.
Finally, the Estate points out the blatantly obvious situation here. The only reason Wade is suing the MJ companies is because Michael is deceased. That means Wade cannot sue Michael personally, and he was too late to sue MJ Estate. This is the only reason Wade is filing a lawsuit against the corporations and making absurd arguments against the MJ companies - to keep his lawsuit alive.
It is important to note that in her deposition, Joy said that until Wade changed his story in 2012 she never believed the allegations against MJ. She found Michael very trustworthy when he said he was innocent. She also points out that she found her own son very convincing when he said he was never molested. In her own words “Wade should have won an Oscar. He was very convincing.” This is the moment when the testimony of mommy dearest establishes Wade as an Oscar worthy liar. Has she ever considered that it is now that Wade is lying, out of greed?
The Estate presents Wade’s testimony back in 2005 to the judge. They show how even after an aggressive cross examination by the prosecution, Wade adamantly and repeatedly said Michael had done nothing inappropriate with him. He continued to strongly defend Michael in public. The Estate also points out Wade’s attempts to capitalize on his long friendship with Michael. They point out that Wade performed and choreographed a tribute to Michael in 2009 with Janet Jackson for MTV VMA’s. He penned a public tribute to Michael in which he said “Michael Jackson is one of the reasons I believe in the pure goodness of humankind”. Wade also unsuccessfully tried to work with MJ Estate to choreograph MJ Cirque shows. He met with John Branca to pitch himself for the job. And when it all failed, Wade came up with these lies to get money from Michael’s Estate. (Fun Fact: Despite his meetings with Branca, Wade claimed he didn’t know the existence of MJ Estate in an attempt to explain his late probate claim.)
This is the first step in the summary judgment. MJ Estate reserves their right to file other summary judgment motions for the issues not addressed in this initial summary judgment.
A hearing about the Summary Judgement is scheduled for September 14, 2017.
Coming up later this week : Joy Robson Deposition and other tidbits from the exhibits attached to the motion for summary judgment