This is a list about MJ related lawsuits. I added short summary of case description and latest developments in each case for ease of following. I will be updating this list every few months.
Katherine Jackson v. AEG (Link)
Description:Katherine Jackson is appealing the verdict in the civil wrongful death case against AEG.
Latest developments:All briefs are filed. Court may set up a hearing for oral arguments. Decision should follow soon after.
MJ Estate v. IRS (Link)
Description:This lawsuit is about the estate tax dispute. IRS is demanding $731 Million in estate tax. MJ Estate challenged IRS by filing a lawsuit.
Latest developments:Parties are in settlement talks. October 2014 parties reported that they settled four small issues. Next status report is due March 2015.
Noval Williams Films v. MJ Estate (Link)
Description: This is a dispute about “Last Photo Shoot” documentary. The documentary uses footage from two photo shoots from 2007. It also includes some photos. Estate believes some content are owned by MJ and MJ didn’t give consent for release of the footage. Noval Williams is seeking a declaratory relief that they aren’t infringing copyrights.
Latest developments:Case has been filed in New York and Estate has filed a motion to dismiss the case or in alternative move it to California. Estate also filed a motion to disqualify Noval Williams Films attorney Markovich who also happens to be a producer of the movie as well as an owner and manager at Noval Williams Films. Latest court documents also show that the footage included MJ in his private dressing room. Party who shoot the footage is identified as Hasaun Muhammad and his company Ambassadors Media. Estate also claims the infringed photographs include stills from Thriller short film.
Optimum Productions (MJ Estate) v. Premiere Props
Description:Premiere Props auctioned 1984 Victory tour photos. Estate filed a lawsuit claiming Michael Jackson hired the photographers for the tour and MJ owned rights to the photos.
Latest developments: Through discovery Estate learned Calson Ventures LLC / Bruce Hutchison is the consignor of the photographs. Estate has added Calson Ventures as a defendant and is in the process of serving them.
Wade Robson v. MJ Estate and Wade Robson v. Doe 1 / MJ Companies (Link)
Description:Robson has made a childhood sexual abuse claims against MJ Estate (in probate court) and Doe1/ MJ Companies (in civil court).
Latest developments:Parties disagreement about discovery issues resulted in multiple motions and hearings taking a significant amount of time to resolve. Most of Robson’s discovery requests are granted. In civil court Robson has been given the chance to amend his complaint. Dismissal request in probate court is ongoing. Estate said they would also file a demurrer against amended complaint in civil court. Next hearing date is December 16,2014.
James Safechuck v. MJ Estate
Description:Safechuck have filed a late claim against MJ Estate claiming childhood sexual abuse.
Latest developments:Estate has filed a demurrer (dismissal) against Safechuck’s claims. Demurrer hearing is set for November 19, 2014.
Quincy Jones v. MJ Estate / Sony (Link)
Description:Quincy Jones has filed a $10 Million lawsuit for breach of contract and unpaid royalties .
Latest developments:Parties asked more time for discovery process. Trial has been delayed to June 2015.
MJ Estate v. Tohme & Tohme v. MJ Estate (Link)
Description: Tohme filed a complaint against MJ Estate asking for fees he’s owed. These were 10% from Neverland refinancing, 10% from any future transaction about Neverland, 15% of income from services he provided (plus interest when applicable). Estate had also filed a complaint against Tohme asking for accounting all actions and transactions done by Tohme, return of any money and property (of Michael) Tohme has and cancellation of the three agreements Michael had with Tohme.
Latest developments:Estate’s petition with Labor Commissioner based on California’s Talent Agency act to cancel three agreements MJ had with Tohme was heard in 2013. Parties are still waiting for the decision of Labor Commissioner. Estate’s return of property request is still ongoing at probate court. Tohme recently wanted the court to put Neverland finder’s fee agreement issue on calendar.
Hologram USA v. MJ Estate and Hologram USA v. Cirque du Soleil (Link)
Description:Hologram USA filed lawsuits against MJ Estate (for Billboard awards show MJ Hologram) and Cirque du Soleil (for MJ hologram at MJ One) for infringing patented hologram technology.
Latest developments: In addition to MJ Estate and Cirque Du Soleil, multiple other parties are sued as defendants. Both cases have several pending dismissal requests from several defendants.
Broderick Morris / Quadree El-Amin/ Raymone Bain/ Adean King v. MJ Estate
Description:Parties claim they helped MJ to revive his career after 2005 and in return were given shares from “Michael Jackson Company”. Estate claims MJ was the sole owner of “Michael Jackson Company”.
Latest developments: Bain joined as a party to this claim after she lost her previous lawsuit. Hearings are ongoing. Next status conference is at December 2014.
MJ Fan v. MJ Estate / Sony / Cascio / Porte (Link)
Description: A MJ fan has sued MJ Estate, Sony Music, Eddie Cascio and James Porte for 3 songs on “Michael” album.
Latest developments:All parties are served with the lawsuit and an initial status hearing happened at October 2014. No other developments for the time being.
Sidney Earl Swanson v. MJJ Productions / Sony / Rooney / Timbaland (Link)
Description:Swanson has sued MJJ Productions, Sony Music, Cory Rooney and Timbaland claiming 2014 version of “Chicago” infringes his song “Come Home on the Move”
Lloyds v. MJ Estate / AEG (Link)
Settled. This was a dispute about the insurance policy for “This is it” concerts. Parties settled.
Demann v. MJ Estate (Link)
Settled. Demann – former manager of MJ – has sued MJ Estate over unpaid commissions. Case settled.
Michael Amir Williams v. MJ Estate / AEG (Link)
Dismissed. Williams filed a class action breach of contract lawsuit against AEG (and later MJ Estate). Lawsuit is dismissed and Williams was ordered to pay AEG and MJ Estate’s legal costs.
Michael Jonzun v. MJ Estate / Paul Anka / Sony/ AEG (Link)
Dismissed. Jonzun claimed he owns one-third of “This is it” song.
John Landis and Ola Ray v. MJ Estate
Settled. This was about unpaid royalties from “Thriller”. Parties settled.
MJ Estate v. HTWF (Link)
Settled right before trial. Later HTWF tried to rescind the settlement and filed an appeal. Appeal has been denied.
MJ Estate v. Howard Mann / Henry Vaccaro
Settled after Mann/Vaccaro lost at summary judgment. Mann and Vaccaro has been ordered to pay $2.5 Million to MJ Estate. Vaccaro has filed for bankruptcy.
Bain v. MJ Estate (Link)
Dismissed. Bain filed a lawsuit asking for $44 Million from the deals she helped. She lost the case at summary judgment stage. Bain filed an appeal but it was denied.
Bravado v. Rouas
Settled. Bravado filed a lawsuit against Rouas for infringing trademarks/ copyrights in their MJ related perfumes. Case settled with Rouas paying damages to Bravado. Settlement also said Rouas cannot use MJ’s name and likeliness or any MJ trademarks.
LaPointe v. MJ Estate
Settled. This was a lawsuit about cancelled 2009 Julien’s Auction.
Notes: Above list doesn’t include all of the lawsuits related to MJ. I didn’t list any obviously frivolous lawsuits all of which were dismissed. Estate regularly files complaints to protect MJ’s trademarks. Many unauthorized merchandise lawsuits were handled by Bravado and such cases normally gets settled. Sony manages copyright infringement lawsuits about MJ songs. This list also doesn’t include international lawsuits.