** Updated June 26, 2015. Scroll down to read the updated section (title highlighted in red)

You probably heard Robson’s late probate claim against MJ Estate has been recently dismissed. However he also has a civil case against MJ Companies. Civil case has been initially brought against Doe defendants. In his second amended complaint Robson named Doe 2 and Doe 3 as MJJ Productions and MJJ Ventures. Estate demurred to the second amended complaint. Judge granted that demurrer request of the corporate defendants but gave Robson the chance to amend his complaint. Robson served his third amended complaint on December 16, 2014. However the online court system doesn’t show this document and therefore we don’t know much about the changes Robson made to his third complaint.

Once a complaint is filed, the legal steps to follow are (1) a demurrer motion (by estate), (2) an opposition to demurrer (by Robson), (3) a reply to opposition (by Estate), (4) a hearing and (5) a ruling by the judge. You will find details of each of these steps and I will update this post with more information as it becomes available.

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Ruling can be found here: https://files.acrobat.com/a/preview/16e893f7-cb8d-488b-9b09-d35207848ae7

Before discussing judge’s ruling, I want to remind everyone that during demurrer/ summary judgment judge’s duty is not to determine credibility of Robson’s claims and/or innocence of MJ. This summary judgment is focused on Robson’s late probate claim and if any reason exists to allow the late probate claim. Furthermore during demurrer/summary judgment by law judge is required to accept everything Robson is saying as true and/or approach to everything presented in a way that is most favorable for Robson.

It is undisputed that Robson have filed a late claim against MJ Estate. First judge addresses time limits to bring a creditor claim against an Estate.

Probate rule 9103 (1) states a creditor can file a claim “within 60 days after the creditor has actual knowledge of the administration of the estate”. Robson claimed he did not know about the administration of the Estate until he went and talked to his lawyers. Judge rejected Robson’s argument and in his ruling states that Robson had “actual knowledge of administration of the Estate in February 2011(or at the latest sometime in the last quarter of 2011)”. From previous documents we know this is the time Robson met with Branca – Executor of MJ Estate – to discuss working on Cirque Immortal show.

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As you might know Robson has two cases against MJ Estate, one of them is a creditor’s claim filed at probate court and second one is a civil case. Below is brief information about both cases.

Probate case:  Robson is asking to be allowed to file a late creditor claim (9103 motion). Estate opposed to it. Estate says if late filing of creditor claim is granted, they would likely deny the creditor’s claim and Robson said if that’s the case he would add Executors as Doe 4 and Doe 5 in his civil case.

Civil case: Civil case has been initially brought against Doe defendants. In his second amended complaint Robson named Doe 2 and Doe 3 as MJJ Productions and MJJ Ventures. Doe 1 is for MJ. Estate filed a demurrer in the civil case. Judge decided to keep Doe1 as a placeholder for the time being pending the outcome of the probate claim. Judge granted the demurrer request of the corporate defendants but gave Robson the chance to amend his complaint.

(Legal explanation: Judge sustained the demurrer with leave to amend. Sustain a demurrer means law does not recognize a legal claim for the facts stated by the complaining party. Leave to amend means the plaintiff may correct errors filing a corrected, amended complaint.).

Robson served his third amended complaint on December 16, 2014. However the online system does not show this document. Estate and Robson agreed to several extensions and Estate’s response to the third amended complaint was due March 10, 2015. Luckily this document is available at the online system.

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Some recent confusion about Robson & Safechuck cases prompted me to make a timeline of past and upcoming events so that fans can easily follow the developments in these cases. I will regularly update this post and will try my best to answer any questions you might have.

First some brief information about the case structure and information sources.Robson and Safechuck have both filed a late probate claim and a civil case at LA Superior Court. All four of the cases have been assigned to Judge Mitchell Beckloff. Information about these cases can be gathered from three different sources:

  • “Case Summary” – which is accessible by anyone, however it only lists names of documents filed and basic proceedings information.
  • “Civil Case Document Images” – which requires an account and allows you to buy copies of the documents filed for civil cases.
  • “Probate Notes” – which lists information about upcoming probate hearings a few days before their scheduled date.

As long as the documents aren’t sealed, Robson and Safechuck civil case documents become available at “Civil Case Document Images” system for purchase. (2016 Note: Since Judge Beckloff's move to Santa Monica courthouse documents aren't available at the online system. You can still get the hard copies by making an in person request at Santa Monica courthouse.) However probate case documents aren’t available online so it makes getting information about probate claims a little more challenging. Furthermore under the probate case number multiple issues and claims (as of now Robson, Safechuck, Tohme, El-Amin/ Morris, Estate management etc.) related to Estate is handled so everything listed under “Case Summary” for probate case is NOT related to Robson/Safechuck.

Here’s the past and future events information about the four cases (Recent/upcoming events and final rulings are highlighted in different color):

Robson Probate Claim – (under BP117321) - Dismissed

  • May 2013 - Robson files his late probate claim
  • June 2013 – Estate files an objection to Robson’s late probate claim
  • February 2014- Robson sends interrogatories to MJ Estate
  • February 2014 – Estate asks dismissal (summary judgment) of Robson’s late probate claim
  • May 2014 – Robson makes a request for criminal files (depositions, testimony, and discovery from 1993 and 2005 allegations)
  • September 2014 – Judge grants most of Robson’s discovery requests.
  • November 6, 2014 – Initial date for the summary judgment hearing. Robson lawyers wants to reschedule this hearing to go over the discovery and prepare their oppositions to Estate’s summary judgment. Hearing is taken off calendar.
  • March 24, 2015 – Robson files his opposition to Estate’s summary judgment Estate will file their reply to Robson’s opposition A hearing will be set for the summary judgment motion
  • April 21, 2015 - Hearing date for summary judgment motion
  • May 26, 2015 - Judge ruled on summary judgment and dismissed Robson's probate claim.

Note 1: Although judge dismissed Robson's probate claim, this is far from over. Robson lawyers have previously stated they would appeal the decision. An appeal would take 1-2 years. I will post updates about the appeal (if filed). Plus there's still the civil case against MJ Companies. (2016 Update : No appeal was filed.)

Note 2: As of April 2015 one media source claimed a final status conference on April 15, followed by a 15 day trial to determine if Robson can proceed with his claim. This is wrong. April 15 final status conference and 15 day trial is scheduled to happen in 2016 and it’s for Tohme’s Neverland finder’s fee claim.

Robson Civil Case – ( BC508502)

  • May 2013 - Robson files his civil complaint
  • April 2014 – Robson amendes his complaint to name Doe2 and Doe 3 defendants as MJJ Productions and MJJ Ventures
  • June 2014 - Estate filed a demurrer
  • October 1, 2014 - For MJJ Productions and MJJ Ventures Judge sustained the demurrer with leave to amend. Judge decided to keep Doe1(MJ) as a placeholder for the time being pending the outcome of the probate claim.
  • December 16, 2014 -Robson filed third amended complaint
  • April 10, 2015 - Status hearing - taken off calendar
  • March 10, 2015 - Estate filed second demurrer
  • June 17, 2015 - Robson filed his opposition to Estate’s second demurrer. (Estate will file a reply)
  • June 17, 2005 - Robson files a motion to quash for a subpoena Estate served to one of the doctors.
  • June 23, 2015 - Estate filed their reply to Robson's opposition
  • June 30, 2015 –Hearing date for second demurrer - matter continued July 13, 2015 - Hearing for motion to quash - continued to July 20
  • July 20, 2015 - Hearing for demurrer & motion to quash
  • September 21, 2015 - Judge overruled Estate’s demurer, Robson’s case proceeds to the next phase of discovery and summary judgment.
  • November 23, 2015 - Estate appeals Judge’s ruling on demurrer.
  • February 17, 2016 – Estate’s appeal has been denied.
  • March 3, 2016 – Case schedule including a tentative date is set.
  • July 13, 2016 – Robson changes lawyers. Manly, Stewart, Finaldi are his new lawyers. 
  • August 10, 2016 - Discovery disputes in regards to Robson deposition and mental examination.
  • Upcoming: September 2016 - Deposition of Wade's family members
  • Upcoming: October 2016 - Deposition of Wade
  • Upcoming : November 2016 - Summary judgment

 Safechuck Probate Claim – (under BP117321) - Dismissed

  • July/August 2014 - Safechuck files late probate claim
  • September 2014 - Estate files a demurrer
  • December 16, 2014 - Demurrer hearing held
  • December 30, 2014 - Judge sustained the demurrer with leave to amend
  • March 18, 2015 - Safechuck filed the second amended complaint Date unknown - Estate filed their second demurrer
  • June 24, 2015 - Safechuck filed his opposition Soon Estate to file a reply to Safechuck's opposition
  • July 20, 2015 - Hearing date for second demurrer (according to case summary)
  • July 21, 2015 – Hearing date for second demurrer (according to a declaration filed)
  • September 2015 - Judge ruled on second demurrer and dismissed probate claim.

Safechuck Civil Case – (BC545264)

  • July / August 2014 – Civil case filed and probate case is listed as a related case.
  • June 2015 - Civil case started to show some action. Judge reviewed initial filings and allowed the start of the civil case.
  • July 2015 - Safechuck have filed his civil complaint. Then amended his complaint in October 2015.
  • December 2015 - Estate have filed their demurrer against Safechuck civil case.
  • March 22, 2016 - Hearing date for demurrer motion
  • August 23, 2016 - Judge grants Estates demurrer but gives Safechuck chance to amend his complaint

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In the last few months there have been few hearings and few developments in Robson/ Safechuck cases against MJ. I have been reading both MJ fan comments as well as Robson/Safechuck supporters’ comments on forums, blogs, Facebook and Twitter. Based on comments from both sides, I decided to do a post of explaining some basic information about legal process for these claims.

I have seen MJ fans disappointment and Robson/Safechuck supporters happiness that the judge did not express skepticism about Robson/Safechuck claims.  However both parties are missing the point that is not how the law works. Judges are supposed to be impartial and reside over a case making sure that the law is followed. So Judges aren’t supposed to side with either party and it’s not their job to decide guilt/ innocence/ liability. That is the job of a jury.

Furthermore as it was mentioned multiple times in documents and hearings, the judge is required to accept everything Robson/Safechuck alleges as true. So that explains why the Judge won’t be expressing any skepticism about the claims. However this in any way isn’t a proof of veracity of the allegations.  

Here judge is mentioning the pleading rules and how he is required to treat everything Robson/Safechuck alleges as true.

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