As you might know MJ Estate and Tohme have filed competing lawsuits against each other in 2012.
Tohme sued 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 filed a petition with Labor Commissioner based on California’s Talent Agency act to cancel three agreements MJ had with Tohme. Parties are still waiting for the decision of Labor Commissioner.
In another lawsuit MJ Estate sued Tohme asking for accounting all actions and transactions done by Tohme, return of any money and property (of Michael) in Tohme’s possession. This lawsuit has been ongoing in probate court. Executor McClain’s deposition is a dispute parties have been trying to solve for over a year.
Here is some background information: Tohme wanted to depose MJ Estate Executors about their claims against him. John Branca was deposed in December 2012. In his deposition Branca said he doesn’t have any firsthand knowledge of the allegations that Tohme took money and property from MJ. Branca said his information came from a report of a private investigator. McClain’s deposition has been cancelled several times due to spikes to his blood pressure (high blood pressure). Tohme filed a motion to compel McClain to sit for a deposition. Judge said McClain’s medial info provided to the parties was too general or sometimes no medical information was provided for cancelled depositions.
MJ Estate has suggested an alternative way to depose McClain through a written deposition where Tohme sends his questions and McClain provides written answers. Court suggested a deposition where McClain’s doctor and a discovery referee present and stop the deposition if needed. Estate hasn’t agreed with that as they don’t want McClain to experience any health issues during a deposition. They also argue that McClain hasn’t even met Tohme, has no direct information, he surely doesn’t know anything different/more than Branca and actually he knows less than Branca.
During a hearing it was brought up by court that perhaps Branca can be allowed to pursue the lawsuit against Tohme on his own. Tohme was against this. They disagreed with Estate’s written deposition offer and asked the judge to even dismiss Estate’s case against Tohme if McClain doesn’t sit for his deposition.
This resulted in oppositions and answers from MJ Estate. First according to court case summary McClain’s medical information was filed with the court and it was sealed. This sealing is not surprising (or a conspiracy) given that in United States HIPAA protects confidentiality of medical information of individuals. Second Estate filed a 9630 motion asking Judge to allow Branca to act alone in Estate’s complaint against Tohme. This document is also filed conditionally under seal as it is referring to McClain’s private and confidential medical condition. The rest of the documents consisting of thousands of pages are publicly available.
Tohme is opposing Estate’s motion. Tohme lawyers argue McClain cannot be selectively removed from one aspect of being an Executor; he must be completely removed as an Executor or not at all. Estate and Tohme’s competing motions in this regard have been filed starting September 2014. A hearing was initially set for December 17, 2014 but now delayed to January 15, 2015.
Now for my personal take on this subject: While I respect Tohme’s right to depose Executors who brought a lawsuit against him, the situation with McClain is borderline harassment in my opinion. We all know that neither Branca nor McClain was in Michael’s life when Tohme was Michael’s “manager” hence they have no personal direct information and their knowledge and claims come from a private investigator report. So deposing McClain isn’t going to achieve anything or help Tohme in his defense. I feel Tohme lawyers rather than being reasonable and not depose McClain or alternatively do a written deposition; using McClain’s medical condition to their advantage to try to get the case against Tohme dismissed.
We will see what will happen in 2015. On another note Labor Commissioner’s decision about the three agreements between MJ and Tohme is expected to come in less than 3 months. So 2015 should bring some developments in this case.