In his civil case Robson has sued two of MJ’s companies – MJJ Productions and MJJ Ventures. According to the law, a person can bring a childhood sexual abuse case against non perpetrator entities until their 26th birthday. However there is an exception. This exception allows lawsuit against third party entities (MJ Companies), if they knew or had a reason to know about the unlawful sexual conduct of their employee/ representative/ agent (MJ) and failed to take reasonable steps to prevent it. A Supreme Court ruling also says that “the entity defendant must have some ability to control the sexual abuse perpetrator”.
Robson has been claiming this exception while Estate was arguing against it. After several rounds of revised complaints and demurrers, it was finally time for summary judgment.
On December 19th 2017, Judge Beckloff ruled in favor of MJ Estate and dismissed Robson’s lawsuit. Below you will find the ruling document and a discussion about what this means. Keep in mind that during both demurrer and summary judgment, the judge is required to treat Robson’s claims as true and only determine if there is a legal basis for the lawsuit. So the judge summarizing the allegations doesn’t mean they are actually true or the judge believes them.
Summary judgment ruling : https://www.scribd.com/document/367639167/Robson-Summary-Judgment-Ruling
MJ Companies had no ability to control Michael Jackson
Michael had been the 100% sole shareholder of the MJ Companies during his lifetime. Based on the Corporations Code, no one other than Michael Jackson had the legal ability or authority to control Michael Jackson. Furthermore Neverland Ranch and all of the other residences were owned by Michael personally. This means that the MJ Companies couldn’t control who visited Michael at his homes.
Robson’s “evidence” that the MJ Companies could control Michael is a joke
Robson argued the MJ Company board of directors (Branca, Gallin and Gelfand) could have fired Michael. Even if they did, Michael as the sole shareholder could have fired all the board of directors and reinstate himself. In his ruling, judge points this reality out.
Using a single security guard’s deposition Robson claimed Staikos’ orders trumped Michael’s at Neverland. Judge states he wasn’t impressed with this so called evidence. He writes while the high-level employees (such as Norma Staikos) might have authority and control over low-level employees (such as Neverland staff), there is no evidence that these high-level employees had any control over Michael.
In a very common sense manner judge writes, “as a practical matter, everyone involved worked for Michael Jackson and he held the ultimate control.”. Arguing people like Norma Staikos, Jolie Levine or John Branca who were hired and were paid by Michael and could have been fired by Michael at any time, could somehow have controlled Michael in his personal life is just plain absurd.
The alter-ego argument actually hurt Robson’s case
Robson argued that the MJ Companies were Michael’s alter egos. Judge states if MJ Companies and Michael were one and the same, then only Michael could had complete control over the MJ Companies. This actually supports MJ Estate’s position.
It was Joy Robson who established contact with Michael
Robson won a dance contest sponsored by Pepsi, Target and CBS records - not MJ Companies. It was Joy Robson who reestablished contact with Michael through Staikos at MJJ Productions. It was Joy Robson who asked Michael to sponsor their immigration to US - which Michael did so through MJJ Ventures. So Wade Robson wasn’t exposed to Michael Jackson through the MJ Companies. He was exposed to Michael because of his mother.
Robson’s lawyers are being absurd
Last night Robson’s lawyer Finaldi commented to an AP article stating “Finaldi said he reasoning sets a dangerous precedent. “What the judge is saying is that if you own a corporation or a company, you can hire people, use these people to facilitate your sexual abuse, use them to facilitate victims. So as long as you’re the sole owner of that corporation, the corporation can’t be held liable.”
It’s amazing that this statement came from a lawyer because it’s plain absurd. Let’s be clear that the only reason they sued MJ Companies is because they had no other choice and Wade Robson is no “poor victim” that didn’t have his chance in court.
First of all Robson had this chance in 1993 and in 2005. In 2005 as an adult he denied any and all abuse. He could have sued Michael when he was alive. However when Michael was alive and even shortly after Michael’s death, Wade was trying to make money using his connection to Michael. Wade could have sued the MJ Companies before he turned 26. The only reason this exception rule even applies is because Wade waited until he was 30. Perhaps more importantly, per Beckloff’s probate ruling Wade could have filed a creditor claim against Michael Jackson’s Estate until July to November, 2012. (Link) However Robson spent this time trying to shop a book instead.
So to recap. Wade didn’t need to sue MJ Companies. He could have sued Michael when alive and he could have sued MJ Estate if he filed his claim timely. The only reason MJ Companies were sued was because Michael was deceased and it was too late to sue MJ Estate. So they tried to circumvent the law and it failed miserably. Deal with it.
Let’s be clear - Wade Robson is a liar
Given how Wade has both claimed he was abused and he wasn’t abused and how it both cannot be correct, Robson is a liar. He either lied in 2005 or he is lying now. Estate repeatedly said they believe Robson is lying now for money. This also shows that Wade has no problems with lying under oath.
This lawsuit has shown us multiple examples of Wade’s blatant lies. For example in an attempt to save his probate claim, Robson claimed he didn’t know MJ Estate existed. It turned out Robson himself reached out to Branca and went to meeting in Branca’s office wanting to work on Cirque projects. Not only Wade knew about the Estate but he knew about the executors - but he lied to save his probate claim.
In his civil complaint Robson included a story by Charlie Michaels even though his mother told him it's not true. And finally Wade extensively lied during the discovery process, hiding his emails and the book he was shopping around. (Link) There's no ifs or buts about it, Robson blatantly lied during this lawsuit.
“Why not exonerate him and let a jury decide”
Another priceless gem by Robson’s lawyer Finaldi. First of all, Michael isn't here to defend himself. News flash, it already happened, in 2005. Where Robson took the stand and denied any abuse under oath. During his recent deposition, Robson repeatedly stated that he lied during his testimony in 2005. So again, Robson had his chance to let a jury decide.
An appeal is very likely. Given how unrealistic Robson and his lawyers have acted throughout this process and they appealed Safechuck ruling, they will probably file an appeal in this case as well. The appeal would last 1-2 years, technically keeping this case alive. However odds of any appeal being successful is very low. They can’t win against Corporations Code, they will never be able to show that MJ Companies or anyone worked for Michael could have controlled Michael's personal life.
Robson has already started the next chapter of his life. He magically healed and went back to dancing - something he claimed he could never ever do and reminded him of his so called “abuse”. Robson is also getting ready to play the professional victim, motivational speaker, vedic meditation guru and so on. He might try to get his book published again. So in my personal opinion, neither Robson nor his abuse allegations are going anywhere soon.
During their opposition Robson lawyers filed a bunch of exhibits - some sealed, some publicly available. We are aiming to look back to those exhibits over time, especially some depositions. It’s always fun to see Wade constantly changing positions and how Wade and Joy can’t get their stories straight.
As Robson’s lawyers continue to misrepresent the case and the ruling in the media, let us address another comment that one of them, Vince Finaldi made to E! News.
Finaldi’s comment: "We strongly disagree with the court's ruling, as we firmly believe it is contrary to established California law and sets a dangerous precedent that endangers the State's vulnerable children. For these reasons, we will be vigorously appealing this decision so that Wade's case can be decided on its factual merits before a jury of his peers. The days of Hollywood legal teams' usage of threats, bullying, intimidation, and disingenuous arguments to convince judges to dismiss cases are numbered."
First, the ruling is totally in accordance with California law. Judge Mitchell L. Beckloff is a very meticulous judge who gave Robson all the opportunities in the world to make his case. Among other things, throughout the four and a half years that this case has been going on, the Judge gave Robson four opportunities to amend his complaint, discovery opportunities and everything that is imaginable. So if Finaldi thinks they had a case then they had plenty of time to make it during the court proceeding. They did not.
It does not endanger vulnerable children to say that companies who were incidental to the relationship between the Robson family and Jackson are not to be held responsible for Robson’s alleged abuse. If what Wade claims is true (and we are convinced it is not, but for arguments sake) then it is his mother's behavior that endangered him as a facilitator of abuse, not Jackson's companies. So why doesn't he sue his mother? Of course, there is no big money in suing his mother.
Second, Finaldi has some nerve talking about "threats, bullying, intimidation, and disingenuous arguments" as their side is the one which is guilty of all of the above.
Considering that Wade claims that his lawsuit is also for helping other victims of child abuse, and especially other "victims" of Michael Jackson, his treatment of those other alleged victims is certainly inconsistent with that. At his 2016 deposition he was asked whether he had ever attempted to reach out to Gavin Arvizo, the boy at the center of the 2005 trial. Wade’s answer: "No. Not that I recall, no." So despite of his claim that he is doing this lawsuit, not for money but as some sort of advocacy for Jackson’s other “victims”, he never bothered to reach out and apologize to the boy whose justice he had obscured if we believe the current version of his story that he falsely testified at that trial.
He did “reach out” to Jackson’s 1993 accuser, Jordan Chandler, but not in the way one would expect from a compassionate fellow “victim”. His “reaching out” only meant that he was trying to depose Jordan in support of his lawsuit, despite of Jordan obviously being opposed to it. Jordan, as he always does whenever it is time to tell his allegations in a court, ran away once again and refused to be served with the subpoena. As Wade’s legal team could not find him, they tried to depose his sister and his fianceé, who filed motions making it very clear that they do not want be dragged into Wade’s case. Instead of respecting the Chandlers’ obvious wish to stay away from the case, Wade’s legal team aggressively pursued them, filing counter-motions and trying to force them to testify. They even bragged in a tabloid article that they were trying to “hunt down” Jordan wherever he is hiding.
They also aggressively pursued Jonathan Spence, a man who befriended Jackson in the 1980s as a child. Spence never accused Jackson of any wrongdoing and he still says that Jackson never did anything wrong to him, but he was one of those boys that the prosecution at the 2005 trial tried to represent as a “victim” despite of him claiming otherwise. Spence called out Robson's lawyers for bullying him in one of his motions. "Plaintiff's bullying behavior toward a non-party is inexcusable and speaks for itself", his motion said.
And the the real disingenuous argument here is to blame Jackson’s companies and people employed by it for Robson's alleged sexual abuse. Those companies were incidental to the relationship between the Robsons and Jackson, as one could clearly see from the deposition of Wade’s mother, Joy Robson. Despite of that Wade was suing them instead of his mother who was the one seeking contact with Jackson, who was the one allowing her son sleep in Jackson's room even after the Chandler allegations, who was the one pursuing Jackson to help them move to the United States from Australia. This mother is only mentioned as some distant bystander in Wade's complaint. Meanwhile employees of Jackson's companies, such as Norma Staikos, are called a "madame" or "procurer of child sexual abuse" - that for things like putting the Robsons on the phone with Jackson when they went to Staikos and asked to meet Jackson. There is nothing more disingenuous than Robson's arguments in this case.