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.
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: After participating in settlement talks for over a year and filing three stipulation of settled issues, the case is put on the calendar of the tax court. Trial is scheduled for February 2017. Most of 2016 will be spent with discovery and trial preperation.
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 is ongoing at New York court. Estate responded with filing their counter claims to the complaint. Noval Williams Films request to dismiss some of Estate's counter claims were denied. Discovery has started and will continue until July 2016. Parties expect the trial to last 5 days. No trial date has been set yet (End of 2016/ early 2017 seems likely.) Next hearing is set for June 2016.
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: Judge allowed Robson's civil case is to proceed to the summary judgment phase so Estate have filed their preliminary response to the Robson's claim. (Link) Estate has filed an appeal to overturn judge's decision to allow Robson's civil case to proceed. Hearing set for February 2016 has been taken off calendar. (most likely to wait for the outcome of the appeal)
James Safechuck v. Doe 1 / MJ Companies
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: Safechuck have named the Doe defendant companies and have filed an amended complaint. In late december Estate have filed their demurrer request to dismiss Safechuck's case.
Quincy Jones v. MJ Estate / Sony (Link)
Description:Quincy Jones has filed a $20 Million lawsuit for breach of contract and unpaid royalties .
Latest developments: Parties are still having ongoing discovery disputes. Estate and Sony have filed their summary judgment motions. Jones is trying to amend his complaint. Estate and Sony has also filed a motion to seperate the liability and damages sections of the trial. They want first a trial to happen to determine liability and a second trial to happen to determine damages if they are found liable. Due to all of the ongoing disputes and active motions, trial once again delayed to June 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: No new developments since last update. Discovery is ongoing. Trial date has been tentatively set for May 2016.
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: Trial to determine MJ Estate's 850 Motion to Determine Ownership of Michael Jackson Company started in December and continued on and off until early February 2016. Post trial briefing is due by March 25, 2016. Decision should follow some time after that.
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: After the mediation attempts failed, case is finally going forward. Early February 2016, Defendants have filed their anti-SLAPP motion to try to get the case dismissed. (Link to latest developments). Next hearing is set for March 2016 to discuss the discovery issues and determine the schedule for the anti-SLAPP motion.
(Note: A malicious or frivolous lawsuit that aims to intimidate, censor and silence free speech is referred as a SLAPP. Anti-Slapp is a motion filed against SLAPP cases)
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: No new developments since last update. 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.
Patel v. MJ Estate
Description: Patel claims his son formed an entertainment company with MJ called Neverland Entertainment to make a movie called "Messages to Michael".Patel is seeking access to materials such as home video footage and music rights to make the movie.
Latest development: Estate have filed their demurrer to dismiss the case and a hearing is set for April 2016.
Previously Resolved lawsuits
Optimum Productions (MJ Estate) v. Premiere Props and Calson Ventures LLC
Settled. Execution of the settlement agreement took some time but it is finalized. This was a case about Victory tour photos. Estate will get approximately 200 photo negatives and all of their rights, title and interest.
Genenis Group v. MJ Estate
Dismissed. Genesis Group was asking for $4.58 M as finder's fee for a Neverland financing deal that didn't happen.
Hologram USA v. MJ Estate
Dismissed. This was a case about MJ Hologram at Billboard Awards show.
Safechuck v. MJ Estate
Dismissed. This was Safechuck's probate claim against MJ Estate. Judge dismissed it on September 2015.
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.
December 2015 Update : http://dailymichael.com/news/313-mj-related-lawsuit-updates-december-2015
October 2015 Update : http://dailymichael.com/news/309-mj-related-lawsuit-updates-october-2015
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