As you might know Robson has two cases against MJ Estate, one of them is a creditor’s claim filed at probate court and second one is a civil case. Below is brief information about both cases.
Probate case: Robson is asking to be allowed to file a late creditor claim (9103 motion). Estate opposed to it. Estate says if late filing of creditor claim is granted, they would likely deny the creditor’s claim and Robson said if that’s the case he would add Executors as Doe 4 and Doe 5 in his civil case.
Civil case: Civil case has been initially brought against Doe defendants. In his second amended complaint Robson named Doe 2 and Doe 3 as MJJ Productions and MJJ Ventures. Doe 1 is for MJ. Estate filed a demurrer in the civil case. Judge decided to keep Doe1 as a placeholder for the time being pending the outcome of the probate claim. Judge granted the demurrer request of the corporate defendants but gave Robson the chance to amend his complaint.
(Legal explanation: Judge sustained the demurrer with leave to amend. Sustain a demurrer means law does not recognize a legal claim for the facts stated by the complaining party. Leave to amend means the plaintiff may correct errors filing a corrected, amended complaint.).
Robson served his third amended complaint on December 16, 2014. However the online system does not show this document. Estate and Robson agreed to several extensions and Estate’s response to the third amended complaint was due March 10, 2015. Luckily this document is available at the online system.
So now we are at the second round in this civil lawsuit, the second demurrer request by the estate. (Demurrer: dismissal request stating there’s no legal basis for a lawsuit). Below you can find the document and a summary of the document.
Estate’s demurrer to the third amended complaint: https://www.scribd.com/doc/258435718/MJ-Estate-Robson-Civil-Case-Second-Demurrer
Unfortunately the document doesn’t provide much detail about the specific changes Robson made to his third amended complaint. From the second amended complaint we know that Robson had one single claim for childhood sexual abuse. In his third amended complaint we learn, he listed 7 causes of action and only 4 of them applies to MJJ Productions and MJJ Ventures. We learn first cause of action is childhood sexual abuse, fifth cause of action is childhood sexual abuse-negligence, sixth cause of action is childhood sexual abuse- negligent infliction of emotional distress and seventh cause of action is childhood sexual abuse- breach of fiduciary duty.
Estate’s main demurrer argument focuses on statute of limitations. Normally general statute of limitations would be 1 year from when the events happened or if the party is a minor within 1 year of turning 18 – in other words until age 19. So according to this general rule, statute of limitations would end when Robson turned 19 at 2001. The exception to this general statute of limitations is 340.1 rule which extends the statute of limitations under some conditions. 340.1 states the actual perpetrator can be sued anytime within the 3 years of discovery of injury regardless of the plaintiff’s age. However for third parties and entities, the statute of limitations ends when the plaintiff turns 26. The exception to age 26 rule, requires the third party/entities know about the unlawful sexual conduct of the employee/agent/etc., have control over the actions of the perpetrator and ability to take actions to stop similar acts in the future but failed to do so. This exception also requires perpetrator’s access to the victim should arise out of perpetrators employment with the third party.
Ivy’s note: The best example to understand this age 26 exception is church and priests. Perpetrator priest gets access to his victims through his employment/job. Church has the power to hire and fire priests – hence they have the ability to stop future abuse. Therefore if the church is alerted to sexual abuse and did nothing, they would be found liable and there won’t be any age limitation or deadline to bring such lawsuit.
Robson’s first cause of action is “childhood sexual abuse”. Estate argues there’s no claim that MJJ Productions or MJJ Ventures committed childhood sexual abuse. They argue that the corporations aren’t real persons and law Robson cited doesn’t apply to them.
As for the other causes of action, Estate argues they are time barred because Robson is over 26 and he did not and could not successfully argue the exception to age 26 rule. Estate states to successfully claim an exception, Robson needs to show (a) Robson was exposed to MJ as an inherent part of the environment created by the relationship between MJ and MJJ Productions and MJJ Ventures , (b) MJJ Productions and MJJ Ventures was in a position to exercise control over MJ and (c) MJJ Productions and MJJ Ventures knew or had reason to know unlawful sexual conduct. Estate states Robson did not and could not claim these required conditions.
Estate continues to explain Robson was fascinated with MJ even before he met him and his fascination was due to MJ’s fame. Robson claims they first came to California independent of Michael. Later they were invited to the recording studio and Neverland – all of which had nothing to do with MJJ Productions or Ventures. Although Robson later cites his and his mother’s work relationship with MJJ Productions and Ventures, Estate argues this is not enough. According to Robson’s claims, his alleged abuse predates his employment with MJJ Productions and/or Ventures.
Secondly Estate argues MJJ Productions and MJJ Ventures was not in a position to exercise control over MJ. Robson himself states MJ was the owner and president of the corporations and claims MJ directed the corporate defendants about what to do – such as MJ directed the corporate defendants to hire Robson and his mother. Estate points the absurdity of claiming MJ owned the Corporations; MJ was the president of the Corporations but then claiming Corporations controlled MJ.
Finally Estate argues MJJ Productions and MJJ Ventures did not know about any alleged sexual abuse. Estate discusses the law that requires knowledge of the perpetrator’s unlawful sexual conduct and suspicion of abuse is not enough. Estate states Robson did not allege Corporations to know about any unlawful sexual conduct between 1990 and 1993. Estate argues even 1993 Chandler allegations wouldn’t be enough to satisfy “knew or had reason to know” any unlawful sexual conduct.
Therefore MJJ Productions and MJJ Ventures ask the demurrer to be sustained without leave to amend. According to the document, demurrer hearing will happen at June 30, 2015.
Note: If you are interested in discussing Robson and Safechuck cases please visit MJJCommunity Trials and Tribulations. Robson/Safechuck discussion can be found at http://www.mjjcommunity.com/forum/threads/129320-Discussion-Wade-Robson-files-claim-of-sexual-abuse-against-MJ-Estate