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.
July 2015 Update: http://dailymichael.com/news/306-mj-related-lawsuit-updates-july-2015
May 2015 Update : http://dailymichael.com/news/299-mj-related-lawsuit-updates-may-2015
January 2015 Update: http://dailymichael.com/news/290-mj-related-lawsuit-updates-january-2015
November 2014 Update : http://dailymichael.com/news/286-mj-related-lawsuit-updates-november-2014
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: No new developments since last update. Parties are still in settlement talks.Next status report is due November 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. Early September Judge ruled saying the case will stay in New York and disqualified Noval Williams Films attorney. Noval Williams found a new lawyer. Estate filed their answer and counterclaims to the complaint on September 17th. Estate's counter claims mention 7 instances of copyright infringement of MJ photographs. Estate also stated that they believe the videographer was employed as MJ's staff and/or security detail.
Optimum Productions (MJ Estate) v. Premiere Props and Calson Ventures LLC
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 initial discovery Estate learned Calson Ventures LLC / Bruce Hutchison is the consignor of the photographs. During a deposition of Premiere Props, Lee Durst was identified as either owner or representative of Calson Ventures. Estate deposed Durst however there are several disputes regarding Durst deposition. Estate has filed a motion to compel and the court granted it. However Durst hasn't followed court's order. Therefore Estate asked for sanctions but Durst hasn't responded timely. After court mentioned if Durst doesn't respond he can go to jail and experience issues with bar association, Durst produced 1,000 pages of documents for discovery. Next hearing is at October 21st.
(Note: Lee Durst was Howard Mann's lawyer. When Vaccaro declared bankruptcy and auctioned his Jackson memoralibia recently, MJ items were missing. Vaccaro accused Mann of removing MJ items without his permission. Mann responded that he paid and bought MJ items and later gave it to his lawyer Lee Durst as a payment for his legal services.)
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: In civil court Robson has been given the chance to amend his complaint and Estate filed a demurrer. Demurrer hearing happened on July 20, 2015. On September 21, 2015 Judge overruled Estate's demurrer allowing Robson case to proceed to the summary judgment phase. Estate also wanted to depose the doctor who wrote the "certificate of merit" for Robson's civil complaint. Robson filed a motion to quash. Judge rejected Estate's request.
James Safechuck v. MJ Estate and James Safechuck v. Doe Defendants
Description:Safechuck have filed a late claim against MJ Estate claiming childhood sexual abuse (in probate court) and Doe defendants (in civil court).
Latest developments:In probate court Estate's demurrer to dismiss Safechuck's late probate claim was granted on September 21,2015.
In civil court, judge reviewed the initial filings and allowed the start of the civil case against MJ companies. This will start the whole process (complaint, demurrer and so on) for the civil case.
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: No new developments since latest update. Parties have resolved their discovery disagreements and started discovery. As of July 2015 written discovery is close to completion. Jones has hired an auditor to prepare a report about all unpaid or underpaid royalties. Once the report completed, Estate and Sony plans to prepare a report in response. Parties agreed to take part in mediation. In order to have enough time to finish discovery and take part in mediation parties asked the trial to be delayed to February 2016.
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:In Tohme's complain against Estate : After Labor Commissioner's decision and Estate's request for new trial, discovery had started. However parties are having discovery issues. Tohme has filed a motion for a protective order. Estate has filed a motion to compel against Tohme and Colony Capital. Information Estate asked but Tohme did not answer include Tohme's financial status when he met MJ and Tohme's past and present relationship with Colony Capital includung any fees&payments Tohme receives from Colony Capital.Trial date has been tentatively set for May 2016.
In Estate's complaint against Tohme: No new developments. Last information was that Estate withdrew their 9630 motion (asking Judge to allow Branca to act alone in Estate's complaint against Tohme)
Hologram USA v. MJ Estate (Link)
Description:Hologram USA filed lawsuits against MJ Estate for Billboard awards show MJ Hologram for infringing patented hologram technology. Lawsuits also include several other parties in addition to MJ Estate.
Latest developments: The settlement conference was rescheduled and parties sat down for court mandated settlement conference in mid September. Parties weren't able to reach to an agreement.
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: Hearings are ongoing. Discovery was to be completed by end of July. Trial is set for December 2015.
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: Other than regular status hearings, no new developments. Next status hearing is at October 2015.
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”
Latest developments: Rooney and Timbaland filed their initial responses to the complaint. Discovery has started. On the other hand Estate and Sony have been engaing in informal settlement talks and parties also agreed to take part in mediation. Trial is scheduled for June 2016.
Genenis Group v. MJ Estate
Description: Genenis Group and Kevin Kinsey claim they entered into an oral agreement with MJ in August 2007 to find funding for refinancing of Neverland and Michael agreed to pay them 10% finder's fee. Genesis Group claim they found an investor to loan $46 million to Michael but Michael never signed the necessary documents to close the escrow and the money was returned to the investor. Genesis Group is asking for $4.58 M as finder's fee.
Latest developments: Estate has filed a demurrer asking Genesis Group's lawsuit to be dismissed as they failed to timely file a creditor's claim against MJ Estate. Estate states they provided notice of administration of the Estate to Genesis Group on December 2009 and this gave Genesis Group until February 2010 to timely file a creditor's claim. However Genesis Group did not file a creditor's claim until June 2010. Demurrer hearing is set for October 19,2015.
Previously Resolved lawsuits
Robson v. MJ Estate
Dismissed. This was Robson's probate claim against MJ Estate. Judge dismissed it on May 2015.
Hologram USA v. Cirque du Soleil
Settled. This was a dispute about MJ hologram at "Michael Jackson One" by Cirque du Soleil. Parties settled.
Katherine Jackson v. AEG
Verdict in favor of AEG. Both Court of Appeals and Supreme Court denied Katherine Jackson's appeal request.
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.