A judge dismissed a negligence suit filed by a man who alleged two companies created by the late Michael Jackson shared responsibility for sexual abuses committed against him by the long-dead King of Pop.
Santa Monica Superior Court Judge Mitchell Beckloff ruled that MJJ Productions Inc. and MJJ Ventures Inc. cannot be held liable for the alleged abuses of 39-year-old James Safechuck by Jackson when the plaintiff was a minor because the companies had no ability to influence or direct the singer’s conduct.
“As plaintiff cannot plead some ability to control the 100 percent shareholder and owner of the entity defendants who perpetrated the abuse under these circumstances, these causes of action cannot withstand (the defense dismissal motion),” Beckloff wrote in his 18-page ruling on June 28.
Jackson began abusing Safechuck in 1988 during the singer’s “Bad” tour, the lawsuit alleged.
Jackson died June 25, 2009, at age 50, of acute propofol intoxication.
Safechuck’s lawsuit also alleged intentional infliction of emotional distress and that Jackson put his interests ahead of those of the plaintiff. He maintained he was an employee of the two Jackson companies when he was 8 or 9 years old in the mid-1980s and that he was compensated for his work in part with travel, lodging, medical care and clothing.
However, MJJ Ventures did not file articles of incorporation until February 1991, Beckloff wrote.
“Plaintiff could not have been employed by that entity defendant until after that time,” Beckloff wrote.
Safechuck also maintained that he worked for the Jackson entities when he was 16 and 17 years old, after the alleged abuses stopped.
“This employment appears to the court to have been a more traditional and formal employment relationship than the alleged employment relationship occurring in 1988,” Beckloff wrote.
“While it is not entirely clear when the sexual abuse ceased, it appears the sexual abuse continued until 1992,” when Safechuck reached puberty, Beckloff wrote.
Safechuck maintained that a key moment in his realization that he was a molestation victim was when he saw a May 2013 television interview with Australian dancer and choreographer Wade Robson, who also claimed he was sexually abused by Jackson as a child. Safechuck maintained that he did not fully comprehend what happened until he underwent subsequent counseling.
The 35-year-old Robson also filed a civil suit against the Jackson entities that still is awaiting trial.
— City News Service
>> Want to read more stories like this? Get our Free Daily Newsletters Here!Follow us: