In Robson civil and probate cases, Estate’s first step was to try to get them dismissed during demurrer phase. They succeeded in probate case however their request was overruled for the civil case. Civil case has proceeded to the summary judgment phase. It is now the time for the defendant – in other words MJ Estate – to respond with an initial answer denying the allegations in the complaint and listing possible legal affirmative defenses. This is a short preliminary document.

Document here: https://www.scribd.com/doc/285207028/MJ-Estate-answer-to-Robson-Civil-Complaint

Not surprisingly Estate starts their answer to the complaint by focusing on Robson’s 2005 testimony.

“This case has no merit in fact or law. Wade Robson’s allegations are directly contrary to his sworn testimony in a 2005 criminal trial where Michael Jackson was vindicated of all wrongdoing by a unanimous jury of twelve. Robson was twenty-three-years-old when he testified in 2005. He was subjected to vigorous and repeated cross-examination by a very zealous prosecutor handling the case, but Robson’s testimony never wavered”.

Estate continues with

“In his complaint for money damages, Robson does not claim that he made a mistake when he testified in 2005 or that he suffered from a “repressed memory”. Rather, Robson simply claims that he chose to lie to a criminal jury in 2005. Yet, a decade later, and almost four years after Michael Jackson’s tragic death, Robson changed his story knowing that Michael Jackson is no longer here to defend himself. Robson recanted his testimony in a criminal trial for the sole and express purpose of taking money from Michael Jackson’s heirs and beneficiaries. After all, Robson’s complaint does not and cannot seek anything other than money”.

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Robson civil case demurrer ruling document : http://www.scribd.com/doc/283138843/Robson-Demurrer-Ruling

On September 21, 2015 after 2 months of waiting Judge ruled on MJ Estate’s demurrer for Robson’s civil case. Estate’s demurrer was overruled, this means Robson’s claim will proceed to the next phase of summary judgment.

In his civil case Robson has sued two of MJ’s companies – MJJ Productions and MJJ Ventures. According to the law, a person can bring a childhood sexual abuse case until their 26th birthday. However there is an exception. This exception allows lawsuit against third party non perpetrators (in this instance MJ Companies) if they knew or had a reason to know about the unlawful sexual conduct of their employee/ representative/agent (MJ) and failed to take reasonable steps to prevent it.

Robson was over 26 years old when he filed his lawsuit and he has been claiming this exception. Estate was arguing against it. The demurrer has been mainly about statute of limitations.  

Demurrer can be explained as “even if the facts alleged in the complaint were true, there is no legal basis for a lawsuit". In other words Judge is required to accept all the claims as true for the purposes of demurrer and is only determining if there is a legal basis for a lawsuit. Furthermore in demurrer stage the defendants (Estate in this instance) cannot bring any evidence or witnesses. They could only argue against Robson’s claims using the law and the precedent cases.

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 Although Safechuck filed a civil case in 2014, his civil case remained silent and inactive until June 2015. On July, 2015 Safechuck identified Doe2 and Doe 3 defendants. This will start the process (demurrer and such) for Safechuck civil case. Why now? In my personal opinion, judge dismissing Robson’s probate claim demonstrated that Safechuck’s probate claim doesn’t stand much chance either therefore they are focusing their efforts on the civil claims.

Safechuck’s civil complaint provides information about why his probate claim most probably wouldn’t be successful. Probate code requires any claim to be filed within 60 days of knowledge of administration of the Estate and the creditor’s actual knowledge of the existence of the facts giving rise to the existence of the claim. Unlike Robson, Safechuck doesn’t claim he didn’t know about the Estate. To the contrary, Safechuck openly admits he heard from news reports that John Branca would be managing MJ’s business affairs and he knew who Branca was. Safechuck similar to Robson doesn’t claim repressed memory. He states he told his mother in 2005 MJ was a “bad man” and he told his mother in “briefest statement that he had been abused” in 2005. Furthermore Safechuck started to see a therapist on May 20, 2013. Given Safechuck hasn’t filed his probate claim until 2014, there’s no way he can satisfy the within 60 days rule of probate. That alone should be enough for the judge to dismiss his probate claim eventually. ( Few rounds of chances to amend a complaint routinely happens).

That brings us to the civil complaint.

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On August 29 2015 , on the date that would have marked Michael Jackson's 57th birthday, fans realized a MJ autographed item was listed on eBay recently. Item description stated this picture was hanging on the wall of MJ's recording studio. MJ took it off the wall and signed the back of it. Item was listed as still in good condition. 

chantal2

Seller's account name was Chantal818 and item was located at Playa del Rey, California. The asking price was $1,100. It looked like every other item listed for sale on eBay. That's until you look to the 5th picture. The inscription of the picture read " To WADE the Best friend in the universe Love Michael Jackson".

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Over the last few weeks, there have been few developments in Robson (civil) and Safechuck (probate claim) cases. First, the hearing date for all active issues (civil demurrer, probate demurrer and motion to quash) has been consolidated to July 20,2015. Previously they were spread out at June 30, July 8 and July 13. Documents show that lawyers for both sides had conflict with some of the dates so they agreed to consolidate it all to July 20.

On July 20 hearing, Judge will hear arguments for 3 matters.

First matter is the demurrer for Robson civil case against MJ companies. I previously wrote a detailed post explaining all the developments for that demurrer. You can find the link here: Robson Civil Case: Demurrer for the Third Amended Civil Complaint.

Second matter is a motion to quash filed by Robson. As I reported previously, Estate has served subpoenas to three doctors (2 treating physicians and a doctor retained to write the required certificate of merit) related to this case. Estate asked: entire file for Robson, billing records for Robson, date of every appointment, any medical records and notes, all communication between the doctors and Robson/Robson lawyers and anything in the possession of the doctor related to MJ. Robson lawyers have filed a motion to quash the subpoena served to the doctor that was hired by Robson's lawyers and provided the certificate of merit. They state they would use that doctor as an expert witness and expert witness depositions/ testimonies are only exchanged before a trial.

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