Michael Jackson accusers Wade Robson & James Safechuck win appeal to sue late singer's estate for sexual abuse
Robson and Safechuck previously sued in 2013 and 2014 respectively, but the trial court dismissed both cases because California law required that such cases be filed before the accuser’s 26th birthday.
A new law in California has helped Wade Robson and James Safechuck — the subjects of HBO's 2019 documentary 'Leaving Neverland' and have accused the late Michael Jackson of sexually abusing them when they were children -- to sue two separate corporate entities toed to the Jackson estate.
Robson and Safechuck previously sued in 2013 and 2014 respectively, however, the trial court dismissed both cases because California law required that such cases be filed before the accuser’s 26th birthday.
In October, however, California Governor Gavin Newsom signed a law extending the deadline to age 40. The new law took effect on Wednesday, January 1, 2020. The new law also extends the statute of limitations on a provision that stated victims could sue third-party-entities tied to the alleged abuser that either knew, or should have known, that abuse was happening, or failed to take reasonable steps to prevent the abuse.
Under the new law, a California appeals court overturned a 2017 ruling that stated Robson and Safechuck couldn’t sue MJJ Productions, Inc. or MJJ Ventures, Inc. because the suits hadn’t been filed within the statute of limitations — and because neither entity could be held liable for Jackson’s alleged actions.
“The corporations do not dispute these revisions apply to plaintiffs’ nonfatal cases still pending on appeal, rendering their claims timely,” the ruling read. “We agree and find their dispute under the previous statutory provisions to be moot.”
Howard Weitzman, the attorney for Jackson's companies said in a statement on Friday that the lawsuits "absurdly claim that Michael’s employees are somehow responsible for sexual abuse that never happened.”
He added, “The Court of Appeal specifically did not address the truth of these false allegations, and we are confident that both lawsuits will be dismissed and that Michael Jackson will be vindicated once again.”
Vince Finaldi, a lawyer for Robson and Safechuck, told Rolling Stone, “We’re pleased the appellate court has affirmed the strong protections that California has for sexual abuse victims and recognized the extended statute of limitations that it provides.”