Lawyers representing the corporate entities created by Michael Jackson Monday urged dismissal of a civil suit brought by a dancer- choreographer who alleges he was molested by the singer, while the plaintiff’s attorney argued her client still has a viable case.
Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Mitchell Beckloff previously dismissed Wade Robson’s separate complaint against the estate, finding that it was filed too late. He must now decide whether Robson can proceed in his civil complaint against MJJ Productions Inc. and MJJ Ventures Inc.
Beckloff did not immediately rule, taking the case under submission. He also said he wants to ponder further another motion by the lawyers for the corporations to examine a psychiatrist’s medical records concerning Robson, as well as notes and communications involving the plaintiff. The physician, who is not identified in the Robson attorneys’ court papers, evaluated the effects on the dancer of the alleged abuses by the pop star.
Robson’s attorneys say it is too early to seek the psychiatrist’s information, but lawyers for the Jackson entitities say the data is needed to prepare a separate motion to dismiss the case if Beckloff gives the plaintiff’s a chance to amend the complaint rather than toss it now.
Robson, 32, alleged Jackson molested him between 1990-97, though he testified in the singer’s 2005 child molestation trial — which involved another boy and ended with Jackson’s acquittal — that the entertainer did not abuse him.
Attorney Jonathan Steinsaper, on behalf of the Jackson companies, told Beckloff that Robson’s civil case claims also are time-barred and that his clients cannot be held responsible for alleged behavior by the singer over which they had no control. He said the entire case should be tossed, just the judge did with the plaintiff’s effort to file a late creditor’s claim against the estate.
Robson needed a judge’s permission to bring a late probate court claim because his court papers were filed in May 2013, nearly four years after the entertainer’s June 25, 2009, overdose death at age 50.
“The complaint says nothing about what the corporations could have done,” Steinsapir said. “Here, the exposure to Michael Jackson has nothing to do with the corporations.”
He said the alleged abuses took place at Jackson’s Neverland Ranch and that the corporate entities had no responsibility for what may have gone on there between the singer and Robson.
But lawyer Maryann Marazano, on behalf of Robson, said Norma Staikos, an employee of MJJ Productions at the time, exerted “an extraordinary amount of control” and could have stepped in to protect the plaintiff and others.
“There could have been many steps taken to keep Michael Jackson away from young children and be alone with them and molest them,” Marzano said.
Marzano said arrangements were made through the Jackson companies to bring Robson, who lived in Australia, and other youngsters to Neverland.
Robson says in a sworn statement that he did not realize until many years after the alleged abuses by Jackson stopped that he was a molestation victim. He says May 8, 2012, was a key date for him.
‘I began to recognize for myself that Jackson had molested me,” Robson alleged. “It was on that date in my therapy session … that I first spoke about the sexual activity I had with Jackson. This revelation initiated an enormous emotional, psychological and physiological upheaval in my life that continues until this day.”
— City News Service