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. Parties were engaging in settlement talks for several months, however no outcome for the settlement talks has been reported. Recently parties are experiencing a discovery dispute. Noval Williams have turned over some emails redacted and Estate is asking for unredacted versions. Both sides have filed motions and waiting for the judge to rule.
Wade Robson v. 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 to proceed to the summary judgment phase. Estate filed an appeal to overturn judge's decision to allow Robson's civil case to proceed. Appeal was denied and a trial date was set for 2017. Discovery started. Robson went through an independent mental examination at the request of MJ Estate and he and his family was also scheduled to be deposed. On July 2016, Robson changed lawyers and his new lawyers have filed another amended complaint. The trial date has been vacated to accomodate for the new amended complaint to go through demurrer phase.
James Safechuck v. 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: Estate filed their demurrer motion to dismiss Safechuck's case. On August 2016, Judge granted Estate's demurrer but gave Safechuck a chance to amend his complaint. Like Robson, Safechuck has also changed lawyers and filed an amended complaint. The new complaint will go through demurrer phase again.
Jane Doe v. Doe MJ Companies
Description: An unidentified woman have filed a late claim of childhood sexual abuse against MJ Companies.
Latest developments: Robson and Safechuck's new lawyer have come forward with an unidentified female who is claiming cildhood sexual abuse. She also claims to be compensated for the sexual abuse. Case has just been filed on October 25th, 2016. Estate is expected to file a demurrer.
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:This case is still experiencing a lot of disputes which results in case getting delayed constantly. Latest dispute is about digital downloads and whether they should be treated as sales or licences. Sony was required to get a new separate lawyer. For now trial has been taken off calender. The new lawyers will need to get up to speed before trial gets rescheduled. Next status hearing is on December 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: Discovery is ongoing. Tohme has filed a demurrer and a hearing is set for November 2016. Trial date has been tentatively set for May 2017.
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 2015 and continued on and off until early February 2016. Post trial briefing happened around March 2016. Parties are still waiting for Judge's decision.
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: The mediation attempts failed. Early February 2016, Defendants filed their anti-SLAPP motion to try to get the case dismissed. Judge declined to rule on the anti-SLAPP motion and this prompted an appeal. Appeal court has said that the judge needs to rule on the anti-SLAPP motion. A hearing has been set for November 23, 2016. Separately from anti-SLapp motion, defendants have also filed a demurrer 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) - Dismissed
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: Dismissed with no settlement. MJJ Production/ Sony/ Rooney and Timbaland's expert report shows that the alleged similarities are common and basic musical elements. Swanson also admitted that his song wasn't widely circulated and he didn't send it to anyone. After the expert report, Swanson dropped his case.
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 demurrer hearing happened in September 2016. Parties are waiting for the judge to rule on the demurrer.
MJ Estate v. KingofPop.com
Description: Estate have sued a popcorn website claiming it's infringing Michael's "King of Pop" trademark.
Latest development: Parties had a dispute about whether this case should be tried in California or New Hampshire. In August 2016, the judge ruled that the case will proceed in California.
3T v. Radar Online
Description: 3T has sued Radar Online for libel based for $100 Million
Latest development: Case was filed on July 2016, Radar replied on September 2016. First status hearing is set for January 2017.
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.
February 2016 Update - http://dailymichael.com/news/317-mj-related-lawsuit-updates-february-2016
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