Michael Jackson's Estate Wins Appeal in HBO ‘Leaving Neverland’ Lawsuit
Arts and Culture

Michael Jackson’s Estate Wins Appeal in HBO ‘Leaving Neverland’ Lawsuit

Michael Jackson
(Image: Wikimedia/Creative Commons)

The litigation into the case of Michael Jackson’s Estate against HBO is finally over. The estate of Michael Jackson filed a lawsuit against HBO for $100 million because the cable network violated a non-disparagement clause signed 27 years ago from the filming of the 1992 Dangerous tour concert film.

According to Variety, HBO’s airing of the documentary, Leaving Neverland, that accused Jackson of sexually abusing two young boys violated the initial agreement originally signed. The documentary focused on Wade Robson and James Safechuck who alleged that Jackson sexually assaulted them when they were minors.

After initially losing the court case, HBO appealed the decision. On Dec. 14, a three-judge panel (That consisted of Circuit Judges Richard Paez and Lawrence VanDyke and District Judge Karin Immergut) of the 9th Circuit Court of Appeal upheld the lower court ruling in favor of the Michael Jackson estate.

“The contract contained a broad arbitration clause that covers claims that HBO disparaged Jackson in violation of ongoing confidentiality obligations,” the panel ruled. “We may only identify whether the parties agreed to arbitrate such claims; it is for the arbitrator to decide whether those claims are meritorious.”

The estate’s attorneys, Howard Weitzman and Jonathan Steinsapir, issued a statement that praised the ruling.

“The trial judge and now the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals have unanimously rejected HBO’s arguments,” they said. “In the court’s own words, HBO agreed it would not make any disparaging remarks concerning Jackson.’ It’s time for HBO to answer for its violation of its obligations to Michael Jackson.”

Earlier this year, a verdict was issued in 2017, in a lawsuit Quincy Jones filed against Michael Jackson’s estate that was reversed, stated the estate does not have to pay Jones $6.9 million in royalties, according to Variety magazine.