May 30, 2019

Estate of Michael Jackson

It is hard to believe that Michael Jackson passed away practically a decade ago. He passed away on June 25, 2009. 

Simply put Michael Jackson was a world-famous musician. He still is my sister's favorite musician. I can remember listening to his music as a child during the 1980s on a boombox that was playing a cassette tape. How times have changed.............

Following Mr. Jackson's passing, 4 individuals came forward to assert a claim against his estate. The claimants alleged that Mr. Jackson had promised them a share of a new company during a meeting on June 1, 2006 in Japan.  

However, no claim was immediately filed after the co-executors had been appointed on November 10, 2009 to administer Mr. Jackson's estate. 

Instead, according to the unpublished appellate opinion, "[o]n December 20, 2012, El-Amin wrote to the executors advising them of the June 1, 2006 meeting and claiming that at that meeting Jackson had made promises to appellants of ownership interests in his company and had stated how those supposed equity interests would be allocated."

This prompted the co-executors into action. 

"On January 28, 2013, the executors filed their "Petition for an Order Determining that the Estate of Michael Joseph Jackson Is the Sole Member and Owner of the Michael Jackson Company, LLC," pursuant to Probate Code section 850 (the Petition), by which they sought an order confirming that "the Estate is the sole member and owner of the [LLC] and that no other person has an interest in the [LLC]." The Petition noted that Jackson had been listed as the sole member of the LLC on the Estate Inventory and Appraisal, filed in 2011."

"On May 7, 2013, Morris and El-Amin filed a complaint in the Los Angeles Superior Court, seeking damages for Jackson's alleged repudiation of the claimed joint venture among the parties which they alleged had been formed at the meeting in Tokyo to determine the value of their interests in the claimed joint venture and to obtain damages for its breach."

The probate petition and civil action were eventually consolidated. 

"Following a multi-day bench trial on the Petition in the probate court and posttrial briefing, on March 27, 2017, the trial court issued a 27-page minute order containing its credibility determinations, findings of fact and legal rulings. The court determined the Estate was the sole owner of the LLC."

On appeal, the appellate court affirmed the trial court's decision.

The crux of claimants' case was the delayed filing. Mr. Jackson passed away on June 25, 2009. Code of Civil Procedure § 366.2 generally imposes a strict 1-year deadline to file a claim against a decedent's estate. No exception to Code of Civil Procedure § 366.2 applied to this matter, so the claimants needed to file their claim by no later than June 25, 2010. Unfortunately for the claimants, their claim was filed after June 25,  2010 and so their claim was time-barred.