A Los Angeles judge on Monday dismissed a dragging lawsuit that was filed against the estate of Michael Jackson by Wade Robson. Los Angeles County Superior Court Judge Mark A. Young dismissed it on the grounds that the deceased pop sensation’s companies were not bound by law to protect boys from sexual abuse, NBC News reported.
Robson, an Australian dancer and choreographer, filed a lawsuit against Jackson in 2013 alleging his former friend sexually abused him when he was 7 years old. He also claimed the abuse persisted for seven years and spoke about it on HBO’s 2019 Leaving Neverland documentary.
Robson’s 2013 lawsuit was initially dismissed by the court based on the statute of limitations law. However, a law amendment by the state of California that grants child sex abuse accusers more time to bring their cases before its courts, allowed Robson to sue again.
Per the lawsuit, Robson alleged Jackson’s two loan-out companies – MJJ Productions and MJJ Ventures – allowed the singer to sexually abuse him as well as other victims. Jonathan Steinsapir, an attorney representing the singer’s estate, however, denied the allegations, arguing that Robson had initially backtracked on the sex abuse accusations while Jackson was being tried in Santa Barbara, NBC News reported. He also argued the companies could not be held liable in the allegations as they could not control Jackson.
“There was no way for the corporations to supervise or exert control over Jackson, their sole shareholder,” Steinsapir wrote in a motion for summary judgment. “The Corporations therefore had no ability — and thus no duty — to protect Plaintiff from Jackson’s alleged criminal conduct as a matter of law.”
Judge Young sided with the defendants, ruling that the companies could in no way exert control over Jackson as the singer completely owned both entities up until his death. Following the ruling, Steinsapir released a statement welcoming it.
“Wade Robson has spent the last eight years pursuing frivolous claims in different lawsuits against Michael Jackson’s estate and companies associated with it,” Steinsapir said on Monday. “Robson has taken nearly three dozen depositions and inspected and presented hundreds of thousands of documents trying to prove his claims, yet a Judge has once again ruled that Robson’s claims have no merit whatsoever, that no trial is necessary and that his latest case is dismissed.”
Meanwhile, an attorney for Robson also released a statement saying they’re going to appeal the ruling. “If allowed to stand, the decision would set a dangerous precedent that would leave thousands of children working in the entertainment industry vulnerable to sexual abuse by persons in places of power,” Vince Finaldi said. “The children of our state deserve protection, and we will not stop fighting until we [ensure] that every child is safe.”
This recent ruling comes after Young threw out another sex abuse lawsuit that was filed by James Safechuck, another Jackson accuser who also appeared on Leaving Neverland. The suit, which is also being appealed, was dismissed on the same basis last year.