Artist News Legal Top Stories

Posthumous child abuse lawsuit against Michael Jackson dismissed

By | Published on Thursday 28 May 2015

Michael Jackson

One of the posthumous molestation lawsuits against Michael Jackson has been dismissed because the accuser waited too long to file his litigation.

As previously reported, choreographer Wade Robson sued the Michael Jackson Estate in 2013. He had first met Jackson aged five and spent time at the singer’s homes, including the Neverland ranch, until his early teens. The legal action claimed that Robson had been abused by the popstar over a seven year period.

But legal reps for the Jackson Estate hit back at the allegations, noting that Robson had testified for the defence in the singer’s 2005 criminal trial over other child abuse claims, taking to the witness stand to deny he had ever been molested by Jackson and criticising other witnesses who said he had. The star was, of course, acquitted at the end of that trial.

Robson had also paid tribute to Jackson at the time of his death in 2009, but the accuser’s legal rep, Maryann Marzano, said that psychological damage caused by the abuse had prevented her client from accepting he had been molested by the singer as a child until recently. And that was why he had been unable to go legal on the matter until four years after the popstar’s death, the attorney added.

But lawyers working for the Estate said that the delay in litigation was a problem. Jonathan Steinsapir argued that the law did not allow for the liability for a deceased person’s actions to be transferred to their estate after death in perpetuity. Robson, the lawyers insisted, had missed his opportunity to make a civil claim.

And on Tuesday the courts concurred with that viewpoint, with judge Mitchell Beckloff ruling that Wade Robson’s claim was untimely and should be dismissed.

Marzano, however, intends to appeal the ruling, noting that Beckloff’s decision contained no opinion on whether or not Robson’s allegations were credible. She previously argued that the seriousness of her client’s claims meant the case deserved a full evidentiary hearing whatever the concerns around the time lapse between the alleged abuse and the legal action. It remains to be seen if those arguments are accepted on appeal.

Reps for the Jackson Estate, meanwhile, welcomed Beckloff’s ruling, again stressing Robson’s previous testimony about the singer’s conduct. Though, even if Marzano fails to appeal this week’s judgement, the Estate is still battling one other set of child abuse allegations against Jackson, with James Safechuck likewise arguing that the trauma of the abuse prevented him from pursuing action earlier.