The 2nd District Court of Appeals in Los Angeles indicated that it would ultimately restore the lawsuits filed by two men who accused Michael Jackson of sexual abuse in Leaving Neverland.
In a tentative ruling, the court said that the lawsuits filed by James Safechuck and Wade Robson against two corporations Jackson owned should return to the trial court that dismissed them in 2017. This is because of a new California law that extends the ability for victims of child sexual abuse to file such suits.
The dismissal came well before the two men achieved notoriety for their appearance in the Emmy-winning documentary that was produced by HBO. Both were in the courtroom during the court hearing.
Unsurprisingly, Vince Finaldi, who is a lawyer representing both men, was pleased with the proceedings. He said “All they’ve ever wanted is their day in court.”
The two men originally filed the suits in 2013. But because the law at the time specified that child sex abuse victims could only file lawsuits up until they were 26 led to the dismissal of the suits. Robson is currently 37 and Safechuck is 41.
The new law allows victims to file lawsuits up until the age of 40, and it also grants victims of all ages the ability to file new suits within a three-year period beginning January 1, 2020.
The court’s tentative decision does not revive the entire lawsuit against Michael Jackson.
In 2015, a court dismissed the part of the lawsuit that named the Michael Jackson Estate as a defendant, and that decision will stand. The only remaining defendants from the original suits are MJJ Productions, Inc. and MJJ Ventures, Inc.
Attorneys for Jackson still believe that they will prevail. Howard L. Weitzman, who is one of these attorneys, said, “The appellate court’s tentative ruling is not on the merits of Robson and Safechuck’s allegations and the court in no way said that these cases will go to trial. We are confident that the claims against Michael Jackson’s corporate entities will, once again, be dismissed as has happened before.”