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Vaccaro on his deposition said that Mann approached to him telling that he has a deal brewing with Katherine Jackson.

Mann / Vaccaro signs an agreement for a documentary on September 29, 2009.

Mann / Vaccaro joint company agreement is signed on October 19, 2009.

Mann gets Joe and Katherine to sign sworn statements in November 22, 2009.

Mann signs the deal with Katherine on February 3, 2010. 

 

Mann / Vaccaro lawsuit update 


If you remember the latest update I did was about the "summary judgement" requests coming from both sides. Estate had asked for a partial summary judgement for saying Mann/Vaccaro doesn't own Michael's intellectual property rights, as the 2004 lawsuit between MJ- Vaccaro wasn't tried in court it cannot be used as immunity and Mann/ Vaccaro used copyrighted items such as TII, Smooth Criminal lean, Destiny song etc. 

Mann / Vaccaro responded saying the items were owned by Katherine and Joe - not Michael, Joe and Katherine owns intellectual property rights, they gave affidavits saying they owned those and it was rightfully transferred to Vaccaro, Michael did not make any ownership claims and did not pursue 2004 lawsuit and any copyright infringement was innocent / done by mistake. 

This is the point I last reported. So now the new updates 

First partial summary judgement 

Estate responded to Mann's counter summary judgement 

First these were my tweets about the update that I forgot to post here :

Mann : My copyright infringement of TII photo was innocent, I thought it was one of our photos. MJ Estate : TII is written on MJ's chest

Show me the receipts moment: Mann : Joe owns copyrights because MJ was "work for hire" for him. MJ Estate: there's no work for hire contract

Mann: Some of MJ's rights (publicity and such) was transferred to Joe because he was a minor. MJ Estate: What about when he's 18 and older?

MJ Estate : We have an expert that would testify that our damages are in 7 figures due to Mann / Vaccaro.

Here's the details to the tweets

Mann argued that Joe / Katherine owned the items as well as intellectual property rights because Michael worked as "work for hire" and his parents were his "employee" and such rights were transferred to Vaccaro during bankruptcy sale. Estate responds saying that there's nothing that shows that Katherine and Joe ever owned the intellectual property rights or that shows Michael was a "work for hire". Estate says without any written document / agreement this is just a speculation that can't be proven.

Estate argues that the affidavits given by Katherine and Joe in Nov 2009 doesn't mention intellectual property and copyright law clearly separates physical property from intellectual property. Therefore Estate argues that the sale of physical items at bankruptcy would not transfer the intellectual property rights. 

Estate also denies the claims that Michael did not object to sale or did not claim ownership of the items. To the contrary Michael objected to the sale of his property at bankruptcy sale and the judge protected his rights.

Estate versus Mann/ Vaccaro's disagreement about the 2004 lawsuit continues, again Estate states that lawsuit was dismissed due to failure to prosecute and it didn't determine any facts about ownership one way or another. 

After these filings , the judge heard the oral arguments on July 23, now we are waiting for his order about the partial summary judgement coming from both sides.

Second Trial date delay request 

While this was going on Vaccaro filed a request in delaying the trial date from September 2012 for at least 5 months. Vaccaro argued that he was added to the trial in April 2012 and therefore he did not have enough time to prepare. The document also stated that Mann and Vaccaro had a disagreement earlier in 2012 and separated their business activities. 

Estate argued against this stating that Vaccaro actually has been a part of the lawsuit from the start. Estate had sued Vintage Pop Inc, from the start and Vaccaro is the president and owner of Vintage Pop. It's just Estate learned this fact later on during discovery but as they were suing Vaccaro's company Vintage Pop from the start he was a party to the lawsuit from the start. 

Court denied the delay request agreeing with the Estate saying that 1) Vaccaro has been a party from the start as he is president of Vintage Pop and 2) the timing of the request is improper. 

Third court mandated settlement conference

Judge ordered the parties to attend to a settlement conference on July 25. They were unable to reach to a settlement. 

Fourth trial witness issues

On July 30 Estate has filed a request to deny Mann and Vaccaro introducing an expert witness. According to the Estate although the name and the CV of the expert witness has been forwarded to them, they weren't sent any written report from this expert witness. As the rules require a "written report", Estate is asking barring of Mann/ Vaccaro's expert witness Moses Avalon.

Estate is also asking the court not to allow Mann / Vaccaro to present versions of their website as they failed to preserve the website (edited it) and never provided a copy of the website even though they were asked.

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We are still waiting for the summary judgement. I will update about the motions filed this monday

Estate has filed a motion for "TO PRECLUDE DEFENDANTS FROM INTRODUCING EVIDENCE THAT (1) MICHAEL JACKSON’S WILL WAS FORGED OR INVALID; (2) THE EXECUTORS WERE NOT PROPERLY APPOINTED BY THE COURT AND (3) ARE NOT PROPERLY DISCHARGING THEIR DUTIES OR SHOULD BE REMOVED"

Estate said that they believed Mann would argue that Estate cannot bring the claims in the lawsuit against Mann/ Vaccaro because "the Executors lack standing to bring these claims because 

(a) they are not the duly authorized Executors or because Michael Jackson’s Will is somehow invalid"

(b) that even if Messrs. Branca and McClain are the properly court-appointed Executors, there is some legal basis to challenge their authority in this proceeding, either by certain Jackson Family members or Defendants,

(c) that Mr. Mann’s misconduct is somehow excused or mitigated because the Executors are allegedly not properly providing for Katherine Jackson, Michael Jackson’s mother and a life estate beneficiary of the Estate, and 

(d) that Defendants’ conduct should be mitigated or excused because they are in business with or are sharing profits from their ill-gotten gains with Mrs. Jackson.

Estate's response simply said 
- Branca & McClain has been appointed as Executors by the probate court
- Will's validity, legitimacy of Executors and Katherine's partnership with Mann was irrelevant to this lawsuit. 
- Mann / Vaccaro doesn't have the legal standing to challenge the will
- Katherine is a beneficiary and is not empowered to act on behalf of the Estate or make contracts involving Estate assets. 
- None of what Mann / Vaccaro claims can be defense against an intellectual property lawsuit.

Two direct quotes from MJ Estate

"First, the Los Angeles Superior Court has exclusive jurisdiction over Michael Jackson’s Estate, including the determinations of whether to admit the Will and whom to appoint as the Estate’s executors. Any challenge to the Will is proper only in the Probate proceedings. Whether Defendants like it or not, John Branca and John McClain are the court-appointed Executors, with full authority to prosecute this action"

and

"If admitted, Defendants’ evidence would of course require Plaintiffs to respond by establishing the validity of the Will, the details of the substantial support provided to Katherine Jackson and the full, indeed exemplary, performance of the Executors in preserving and substantially enhancing the quality and value of the Estate and its assets."

Mann / Vaccaro responds to this saying that 

"Defendants do not intend to use such evidence to seek an order invalidating the will or removing the executors. Rather, the evidence will be used to put the Estate to its proof to establish that it owns the subject property."

So Mann / Vaccaro says that they'll mention the will and trust to question if Michael owned the assets and if they transferred to his Estate after his death.

Finishes it by saying "Moreover, the Defendants are in possession of evidence that casts substantial doubt on the validity of the will."

Mann / Vaccaro mentions that Katherine is their partner, the main product is the book (and a documentary plan) and the website is to sell Katherine's book and therefore the relationship between Katherine and Estate is relevant.

Mann continues to say "Katherine Jackson,the primary beneficiary of the Estate, has a real and pressing need for funds." and "Katherine Jackson entered into the partnership with Howard Mann and why the partnership is fair, reasonable and in the economic interest of Katherine Jackson. The partnership is not the result of some devious underhanded conduct of Howard Mann as the Estate suggests"

Mann says he needs this info to defend himself against the character attacks. 

Mann also responded to MJ's Estate's other motions. If you remember I had said the following before

"On July 30 Estate has filed a request to deny Mann and Vaccaro introducing an expert witness. According to the Estate although the name and the CV of the expert witness has been forwarded to them, they weren't sent any written report from this expert witness. As the rules require a "written report", Estate is asking barring of Mann/ Vaccaro's expert witness Moses Avalon."

Mann / Vaccaro responded saying "Defendants hereby submit this written statement declaring that they will not oppose Plaintiffs’ July 30th, 2012, Motion In Limine To Preclude Defendants From Introducing Expert Testimony."

I had also said

Estate is also asking the court not to allow Mann / Vaccaro to present versions of their website as they failed to preserve the website (edited it) and never provided a copy of the website even though they were asked.

Mann / Vaccaro is arguing that as the placement of Thriller 25 on their website had happened prior to the lawsuit and as Estate has not clearly asked for every version of the website to be saved before they should be able to use the website evidence as it's available.

Now some dates

- We are still waiting for judge's decision on the partial summary judgement
- August 13, is the day that both sides will file Memorandum of Contentions of Fact and Law, Joint Witness List and Joint Exhibit list
- August 21, is the day to lodge Final Pretrial Conference Order 
- August 27 is the day for the final hearing that the judge will decide on the above 3 motions , the expert witness, the website and will & executors.
- September 4 is the trial start.