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, parties settled majority of the minor valuation disputes. Only remaining issues were valuation of Sony/ATV catalog, MIJAC catalog and image and likeliness. Trial happened on February 2017. Right after the trial Estate have filed a motion to strike testimony and reports of IRS's main expert. Filing on this issue will be completed by mid May 2017, followed by judge's ruling some time after that. There will also be post trial briefings and the judge's final ruling could take a year or even more.
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 engaged in settlement talks for several months, however it looks like settlement talks have failed. Later parties experienced a discovery dispute. Noval Williams have turned over some emails redacted and Estate wanted the unredacted versions. Judge ruled that Noval Williams need to produce some of the emails unredacted. Estate is planning to file a summary judgment in this case. Motions for summary judgment is scheduled to be filed between April and June 2017, followed by judge's ruling some time after that.
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. Discovery started. Robson went through an independent mental examination at the request of MJ Estate and he and his family were deposed. On July 2016, Robson changed lawyers and his new lawyers have filed another amended complaint. New trial date is tentatively set for March 2018. There will be demurrer/summary judgment for the new amended complaint.
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 went through demurrer phase again and once again judge granted Estate's demurrer but gave Safechuck a another chance to amend his complaint. The third demurrer hearing will happen on May 31st.
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 been filed on October 25th, 2016. Jane Doe amended her complaint to copy the latest Safechuck amended complaint. Estate have filed an demurrer and hearing is set for May 31st.
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:After a lot of discovery disputes and summary judgment motion case is getting ready to go to trial. Parties are engaged in pretrial motions to exclude / disqualify each others experts. Trial is set to begin on May 15, 2017.
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: Tohme's civil lawsuit and Estate's probate claim got consolidated and now being handled together. On March 2017, Estate filed about 10 motions to compel which included requests to compel Tohme to answer Estate's interrogatories, document requests. It also included a request to inspect tangible things. Hearings on motions to compel is ongoing. Trial is scheduled for October 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: In probate court - ruling in favor of MJ Estate. Trial for 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. At the end of March 2017, Judge ruled in favor of MJ Estate. The civil case is still pending and Katherine Jackson had filed a request to join to that case. Civil case was put on hold pending the outcome of the probate 850 motion. It is expected that the civil case will be dismissed based on 850 ruling. For civil case a hearing is set for May 2017.
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. Judge ruled on the anti-SLAPP motion saying that some of the statements aren't commercial speech and some are. Defendants filed another appeal about this ruling. In the meantime Cascio and Porte have filed a motion asking for their legal fees they spent on the anti-SLAPP motion. MJ fan also filed a motion asking for limited discovery to be used in future anti-SLAPP motions. A hearing has been set for May 2017.
(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)
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. Patel was given the chance to amend his complaint.
MJ Estate v. KingofPop.com - Settled
Description: Estate have sued a popcorn website claiming it's infringing Michael's "King of Pop" trademark.
Latest development: Settled. After the case was moved to California, discovery happened and a trial date was set. Parties were able to settle the case at a mediation hearing. Settlement hasn't been finalized yet so it's not clear if the details will be available or not.
3T v. Radar Online - Dismissed
Description: 3T has sued Radar Online for libel based for $100 Million
Latest development: Dismissed. Case was filed on July 2016, Radar replied on September 2016 and filed a motion to strike complaint. On March 2nd, 3T filed a motion to dismiss the case with prejudice- meaning the case cannot be filed again. There is no specifics available and cannot tell if there was a private settlement or if 3T just dropped the case.
Previously Resolved lawsuits
Sidney Earl Swanson v. MJJ Productions / Sony / Rooney / Timbaland (Link)
Dismissed with no settlement. Swanson claimed 2014 version of "Chicago" infringed his song. After the defendants expert report stated the alleged similarities are common basic musical elements, Swanson dropped his case.
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.
November 2016 Update - http://dailymichael.com/news/334-mj-related-lawsuit-updates-november-2016
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