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February 2013

HTWF has just filed their 70 page opening brief.

Summary as follows

- HTWF's one of the most interesting arguments are that HTWF's lawyer Pease has committed fraud, Pease had conflict of interest

- HTWF also blames the district court for not following the trial schedule, not giving HTWF enough time to respond and not allowing Melissa to file on her behalf. They even allege that the court accepting and granting many of Estate's requests shows a favoritism of the Estate or courts desire to close the case.



- HTWF says Estate released false statement saying Melissa had no connection to Michael but actually she a had an ongoing relationship with Michael's managers for a decade. 

Now the somewhat interesting parts :

- Melissa claims one night before the trial is supposed to start her lawyer Pease calls her about the settlement. Pease says her that the documents aren't final and binding. Melissa says she did not agree with the terms but she says Pease told her that these terms could be negotiated over the next 30 -45 days. Melissa says Pease told her that signing the documents will also give them a continuance in the trial and Pease wasn't ready for trial. 

- Melissa says she also later on saw that Pease's fees would be paid by MJ Estate according to the agreement which Pease hasn't told her before. 

- Melissa says she signed the documents based on these explanations thinking they are not binding and they are needed for a continuance. After a while when the Estate complains that they aren't doing what they are supposed to do according to the agreement, Melissa says she called Pease and this time Pease told her that the document she signed was final and binding.

- Melissa also says that her new counsel (the one after Pease) had found out that Pease has submitted an inflated bill to the Estate. Melissa says one month before signing the settlement Pease had sent her an invoice for his fees totaling $94,860 for 316.2 hours at $300 per hour rate. Pease however sent an invoice to MJ Estate first for $612,233 and then a corrected invoice for $638, 356 for 1224 hours at $500 per hour rate. (Ivy's note: Document says Pease was averaging 2.59 hours a day for the first 122 days and then for the last 90 days he billed 9.98 hours a day. HTWF doesn't believe this increase is normal but as the trial dates comes closer the lawyers will be working on the case a lot more)

- Melissa also claims this 4 times the actual fees and costs raises bribery concerns - but we know from other documents that Estate did not pay the fees. But overall the document states that Pease was in need of money and betrayed HTWF for money. They claim as Pease wanted to be paid by the Estate, this brought impairment to his judgment, mislead Melissa. 

- We learn that after Melissa opposed to the judgment stating it included her and her assets personally, the court have made an addition to the judgment stating "all references to Melissa in this judgment pertain to her as an agent of HTWF and not to her personal capacity". They aren't happy with this as the order still affects her personal property (Ivy's note : A few trademarks are registered under her name and not HTWF)

- We learn that the judge also ordered Melissa to undo the merger she did with Michael's 1991 HTWF and her 2008 HTWF. Also ordered her 2008 HTWF to be either closed or renamed or make no reference to Michael Jackson. Judge also gave MJ Estate the right to be "attorney in fact" of HTWF and sign the necessary documents for Melissa and HTWF's behalf if Melissa refuses to sign them.

Some interesting tidbits. 

Here you can see that they are admitting that Melissa has started her HTWF in 2008 and 1991 MJ's HTWF was a different entity. Some people have been claiming the merged HTWF showed that Melissa had been associated with HTWF since 1991. She wasn't.



Here they are mixing up their stories and claiming Melissa was president of HTWF in 2002 & 2003 



I guess Melissa "the President of HTWF" did not get the memo that HTWF wasn't even active in 2002 and had no president. Not everyone can time travel to the past and become a president to a suspended organization and leave no paperwork trail.

"In late 2002, however, it had net assets of just $3,542 and reported $2,585 in expenses, mostly for “management fees,” according to the latest available tax filings.

As of late 2002, the foundation did not have a director, president or other top manager besides Jackson, who was listed as chairman, records show.

The foundation has been suspended in California since April 2002 for failing to file annual statements required of tax-exempt organizations, said John Barrett, spokesman for the state Franchise Tax Board."


http://www.nbcnews.com/id/4601265/si.../#.UShV5aWG2So

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I think it's apparent now that the settlement included that 
- Melissa will transfer the trademarks and her HTWF to Estate
- Estate will revive Michael's HTWF
- Melissa will get a chair at new HTWF 
- Estate will pay Melissa's costs and legal fees (Pease)

Pease was brought in and initially paid by Howard Mann. Now Melissa claims Pease has billed her over $94,000 and said to her he needed the money to keep his business running. Her argument is that Pease had an interest in the settlement because he knew the Estate would pay his fees so Melissa says he pushed her to sign the settlement with misinformation and then sent an inflated bill to MJ Estate.

Also as I mentioned Estate did not pay Pease's fees. In the previous documents before the appeal both sides were arguing who first breached the settlement. Melissa's then lawyer claimed Estate breached the settlement because they didn't pay the expenses, Estate replied by saying they didn't pay because the expenses submitted was inflated. 

This is what I posted way back in October 2011

We also learn a little more about the settlement. Like I predicted (if you remember it), it turns out that Melissa was given monetary compensation for settlement. 



As you can see MJ Estate had offered to pay all the expenses Melissa had per settlement.


In another document filed by HTWF we learn that Estate didn't pay the expenses because they believed the numbers they were submitted was inflated.

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Here's the proof that Estate did not pay any money.This actually comes from a October 2011 filing by Melissa's lawyers and they say Estate (plaintiffs) are equally guilty in regards of not following the settlement as they absolutely refuse to pay the expenses including the legal expenses.

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March 2013

short update

MJ Estate asked for a 30 day extension. As it was their first extension request and as HTWF did not object, it was granted. Estate's answer brief is due April 26. 

Optional reply is due in 14 days. (May 10 with no delays)

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The reply brief is due August 6, 2013

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there's been another up to 90 day delay request

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 Extension until November 2013 is granted 

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Appellants Heal The World Foundation and United Fleet Motion to extend time to file Reply brief until 01/06/2014.

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extension granted until - December 18, 2013

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- request to file an extended brief
- request to file it unsealed
- request of an extension until January 3rd.

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Court has set an oral argument for March 5th 2014

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January 2014 

HTWF finally filed their reply brief.

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as you might know HTWF's brief was due December 18th. They filed asking for an extension request until Jan 3rd. They also asked to file an extended brief - first 10,000 words and then 12,000. Court did not rule on these requests. HTWF filed their reply on Jan 6th.

Estate just filed a motion asking
- to strike HTWF's reply brief
- to strike parts of exhibits / excerpts of record
- request for sanctions
- dismissal of appeal

They asked for to strike HTWF's reply brief because : HTWF filed their reply later than the extension they asked for (filed it Jan 6th instead of Jan3rd) and they filed an oversized brief even though the court did not allow it.

(Ivy's note: According to court rules a party has to file an extension request one week before due date. Court rules furthermore state if a party asks for an extension and the court doesn't rule on it, the party is expected to file their brief by the extension time they requested. )

They asked for to strike to strike parts of exhibits / excerpts of record because" HTWF included thousand pages of proposed trial exhibits which were never filed with the lower court as the trial did not happen.

And as they violated court rules, Estate is asking HTWF to be sanctioned and their appeal to be dismissed. 

(Note: Estate is asking HTWF appeal to be dismissed based on not filing reply brief on time or alternatively stricken the reply brief)

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HTWF lawyer has asked for a delay/ extension of oral hearing.

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February 2014

Updated info :

Filed clerk order (Deputy Clerk: BJB): Appellants’ Motion to Continue Oral Argument is DENIED. The matter will be heard first on the March 5, 2014 Pasadena calendar. Appellants’ motion to file a late, oversized reply brief [Dkt. No. 59] is GRANTED. The brief is deemed filed as of January 6, 2014. Appellants’ initial motion to file an oversized reply brief [Dkt. No. 58] is DENIED as moot. Appellants’ motion to file an unsealed reply brief [Dkt. No. 48] is DENIED. The clerk is ordered to file Appellants’ reply brief under seal. It is further ordered that all references in the reply brief to pages 778 through 1840 of Appellants’ Excerpts of Record Accompanying Appellants’ Reply Brief Volumes 4 through 7 are stricken. The clerk is also ordered to file Appellants’ Excerpts of Record Accompanying Appellants’ Reply Brief Volumes 1 through 3 with Volumes 2 and 3 under seal. Appellees’ motion to strike the reply brief [Dkt. No. 65] is DENIED except as is provided above. Appellees’ motion to strike pages 778 through 1840 of Appellants’ Excerpts of Record Accompanying Appellants’ Reply Brief Volumes 4 through 7 is GRANTED. Finally, Appellees’ motion for sanctions and to dismiss the appeal is DENIED.


Going line by line to simplify it 

Appellants’ Motion to Continue Oral Argument is DENIED. The matter will be heard first on the March 5, 2014 Pasadena calendar. : No delay in the oral arguments.


Appellants’ motion to file a late, oversized reply brief [Dkt. No. 59] is GRANTED. The brief is deemed filed as of January 6, 2014. : Late and oversized reply is accepted. 

Appellants’ motion to file an unsealed reply brief [Dkt. No. 48] is DENIED. The clerk is ordered to file Appellants’ reply brief under seal. : The unsealed reply brief gets sealed. 

It is further ordered that all references in the reply brief to pages 778 through 1840 of Appellants’ Excerpts of Record Accompanying Appellants’ Reply Brief Volumes 4 through 7 are stricken. The clerk is also ordered to file Appellants’ Excerpts of Record Accompanying Appellants’ Reply Brief Volumes 1 through 3 with Volumes 2 and 3 under seal. Appellees’ motion to strike the reply brief [Dkt. No. 65] is DENIED except as is provided above. Appellees’ motion to strike pages 778 through 1840 of Appellants’ Excerpts of Record Accompanying Appellants’ Reply Brief Volumes 4 through 7 is GRANTED. : Estate's request to strike the reply brief in full is denied but portions of it is stricken. (ivy's note: the stricken portions are the trial exhibits which were never entered into evidence as the trial did not happen)


Finally, Appellees’ motion for sanctions and to dismiss the appeal is DENIED. : Estate's request to dismiss the appeal is denied

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March 2014

Oral arguments happened and case submitted to the panel. 

There's still an active motion asking to allow HTWF to file documents that wasn't part of the initial trial.

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April 2014

Judges have denied HWTF's request to file additional documents (not in evidence from the trial). Still waiting for the decision on the appeal.