Jackson Estate Loses Bid To Keep Neverland Documentary Dispute Out of Court

By on May 31, 2019

May 31, 2019

A federal judge has rejected a motion from the Michael Jackson Estate to keep an HBO documentary about alleged child sex abuse by the late pop star out of open court. Following a hearing, he decided against immediately handing the case to an arbitrator. The Estate sued HBO shortly before the film, titled Leaving Neverland, debuted on March 3. It claims that the film constitutes a breach of a non-disparagement clause in an agreement made more than 25 years ago that provided the network with rights to air a televised concert following the release of Jackson’s album Dangerous, but doesn’t want to litigate that claim in open court. It invoked an arbitration clause in that deal. The judge expressed initial agreement with HBO’s defense that whatever enforceable agreement once existed has expired, and any other reading of the contract would violate both its due process rights as well as the First Amendment. U.S. District Court Judge George H. Wu also denied a motion to remand the case back to state court. However, he asked for briefings from both parties on the issue of arbitration. Another hearing will be held on that matter.

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The Hollywood Reporter

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