Jackson estate continues to be the subject of litigation
It has been more than ten years since Michael Jackson died on June 25, 2009. The musician’s estate has since been involved in various kinds of litigation. I have written a blog post about litigation due to an incomplete film about the musician from a deal made between him and a movie director. I have also written a blog post about the estate being in a legal battle with the IRS.
Many people acknowledge that his estate has had tremendous commercial since his death. Some estimates suggest that the estate may have made in excess of $2 billion dollars. This has been the result of various enterprises including film, music, and a deal with Sony to sell half of the Sony/ATV music catalogue. As with numerous other famous musicians and superstars, the King of Pop’s estate continues to battle against various parties long after his death.
Latest dispute stems from the recently released “Leaving Neverland” documentary
A recent story online outlines the latest battle involving the Jackson Estate and HBO. According to the story, the estate filed a lawsuit against HBO ahead of the release of Leaving Neverland asking for $100 million. The claim is based on a deal with HBO about the 1992 airing of a concert film. That deal had language that HBO would not disparage the musician in the future. Many have viewed the documentary as an attempt to expose Jackson’s alleged sexual abuse crimes. As a result, the estate’s position according to its lawyer is that HBO has been “complicit” with respect to “a one-sided farce of a money grab that clearly violates the agreement.”
HBO has taken the position that it did not disparage the musician when the concert film was aired in 1992. HBO is also asserting that that deal ended at the time of the last airing of the concert film in October of 1992. Additionally, HBO is asserting that Leaving Neverland was separate from their agreement and did not breach it.
The most recent development in this story is that U.S. District Court Judge George H. Wu ordered the parties to make submissions on the issue of whether or not sending this matter to arbitration violates the first amendment. This was in response to an attempt by the estate to compel arbitration in accordance with the 1992 agreement. HBO has denied that there’s an enforceable agreement in place.
As of the writing of this blog post, a hearing on the first amendment issue has been set for September 16, 2019. This will be an interesting story to follow.
More on this story here.