On Monday Estate has filed a motion objecting every one of Mann's witnesses. Estate still maintains the position that the trial is about determining damages and every other topic & witness is irrelevant.
Today Estate has filed a trial brief. In that trial brief Estate is saying that as they only plan to seek actual damages, Mann/ Vaccaro's state of mind, intent and good faith is irrelevant. Estate says if the court says Mann / Vaccaro's state of mind / intent is irrelevant , Estate will not seek punitive and statuary damages and only will pursue actual damages. However Estate says if the court allows the state of mind be a defense (meaning it was an innocent mistake etc. argument) Estate will counter that and seek punitive and statuary damages.
Estate says they will dismiss false endorsement in regards to Katherine's book (the thank you note to the Estate), Destiny song copyright claim and (without prejudice - meaning while maintaining their copyright claim) drawings of Michael used in Katherine's book.
Estate says they own the TII movie and show the copyright registration for it ( PA0001648138) and say they just licensed it to Columbia pictures. So Estate is maintaining their copyright claims in regards to TII images.
Estate says Mann's claims that he was mislead by Vaccaro is irrelevant to the trial issue and disagreements in regards who should pay or the claims against each other is outside of the trial.
We get information about the motions as well.
- Estate's motion asking Mann not to be allowed to present expert testimony as they didn't provide a written report is granted as Mann did not oppose to this motion.
- Mann's motion to show evidence that they did not post Thriller 25 materials has became moot based on partial summary judgement.
- Estate's motion asking Mann not to be allowed to introduce website evidence that they did not produce at discovery was granted.
Now the most important the motion about the will and the Executors
- Judge hasn't done a definitive determination in that regard. Court has granted the Motion subject to the determination of whether evidence relevant to equity as it relates to damages under the Lanham Act will be permitted. In easier terms court is saying if it relates to "state of mind" argument it can be allowed, if not it won't be. Estate is saying as they will only seek actual damages and the state of mind is irrelevant to that it should be granted in full.
Estate files their modified pretrial brief - basically consists of all of the recent updates (only seeking actual damages, dropping Destiny claims and so on).
Judge approves Mann's new lawyer
Mann's new lawyer files and ex-parte application to vacate the summary judgement and dismiss the lawsuit saying that MJ Estate does not have the legal standing to bring this lawsuit as the owners of the copyrighted items are either Sony Music, Columbia Pictures, Triumph Inc and Bravado Inc.
the judge denied the 30 day continuance motion
Court rejects motion to vacate the summary judgement and motion to dismiss the case on the eve of the trial.
Mann's lawyer files a response asking the judge reconsider this decision.
Mann's lawyer files another motion asking the court not to allow Estate's expert witness testimony. This motion is like a repeat of the motion to vacate and motion to dismiss. Mann's lawyer argues that Estate's expert had at least two flaws - assuming MJ Estate had standing to file lawsuit and he calculated damages using the use of TII poster picture. As you know Mann's lawyer has been arguing not Estate but Sony , Columbia, Triumph and Bravado are the parties that could have filed the lawsuit.
Documents also show that there's another hearing set on September 4th.
Case gets settled.
Jackson estate, businessman settle copyright case
By ANTHONY McCARTNEY, AP Entertainment Writer – 10 minutes ago
LOS ANGELES (AP) — Michael Jackson's estate and a businessman working with the singer's mother settled a copyright infringement lawsuit for $2.5 million on Tuesday, shortly before a trial in the case was scheduled to begin.
The settlement also restricts Howard Mann and his companies from using Jackson's likeness without permission in the future. It ends a year and a half of legal fighting over Mann's use of Jackson's name and likeness on a website used to promote unreleased songs, photographs and a book written by Katherine Jackson filled with recollections of her superstar son.
Mann is the CEO of Vintage Pop Media, which operated the website www.michaeljacksonsecretvault.com until it was ordered shut down last month by a federal judge who ruled the site violated copyrights controlled by the singer's estate.
Under the terms of the settlement, announced in court by estate attorney Zia Modabber, Vintage Pop Media Group is responsible for $2 million of the judgment, while the entity Vintage Associates LLC is responsible for the remainder. Vintage Associates is the custodian of the items that were at issue in the case.
Mann's attorney, Lee Durst, declined comment after the hearing. "The estate is delighted this matter is behind us," estate attorney Howard Weitzman said.
Among the items that had been improperly used were images from Jackson's posthumous film "This Is It" and a silhouette of the singer dancing in "Smooth Criminal." The settlement also blocks the usage of materials from "Thriller" that had appeared on Mann's website.
A jury trial on how much Mann owes the estate had been scheduled to begin Tuesday, with an expert estimating a license for the works is worth between $5 million and $12 million.
Mann's attorneys rejected a settlement offer last week of $2 million. They sought to introduce evidence that they were given bad legal advice about having to license the works and have considered calling Katherine Jackson as a witness. The Jackson family matriarch is one of the beneficiaries of the singer's estate, along with his three children.
U.S. District Judge Dean D. Pregerson has noted that Mann doesn't appear to have the resources to pay a large judgment. The defendants' ability to pay was not discussed in court on Tuesday.