Bloomberg Law
Aug. 21, 2023, 4:50 PM

Michael Jackson’s Companies Face Reinstated Sex Abuse Claims

Peter Hayes
Peter Hayes

Two of Michael Jackson’s corporations must defend claims that they negligently failed to protect two children from sexual abuse by the deceased singer.

The corporations aren’t excused from a duty to protect the alleged victims merely because Jackson was their sole owner, the California Court of Appeal, Second District said.

“It would be perverse to find no duty based on the corporate defendant having only one shareholder,” Judge Elizabeth A. Grimes said.

The companies—MJJ Productions Inc. and MJJ Ventures Inc.—had a duty to protect the victims due to a “special relationship” based on their age, Grimes said.

The court rejected the companies’ argument that they had no legal duty because they couldn’t have controlled Jackson.

“The likely consequence of protecting plaintiffs would have been termination of employment or removal from the board of directors. But a director or employee’s risk of removal or termination if they acted to protect plaintiffs does not mean they could not act,” Grimes said.

Judge Victor Viramontes joined in the opinion.

In a separate concurring opinion, Judge John Shepard Wiley Jr. said the companies “were in controlling positions to protect children from sexual abuse.” The companies “could have established codes of conduct to prohibit sexual relationships between adults and youths,” he said.

“Jackson’s corporations tell us today these protective measures were impossible or absurd because Michael Jackson would not have wanted to adopt them, and he was the only one in charge. But corporations cannot escape their tort duties by saying those with power do not care about safety,” Wiley said.

Manly, Stewart & Finaldi and Esner Chang & Murphy represent plaintiffs Wade Robson and James Safechuck. Kinsella Holley Iser Kump Steinsapir LLP and Greines, Martin, Stein & Richland LLP represent the defendants.

The case is Safechuck v. MJJ Prods., 2023 BL 287918, Cal. Ct. App., 2d Dist., No. B309450, 8/18/23.

To contact the reporter on this story: Peter Hayes in Washington at

To contact the editors responsible for this story: Martina Stewart at; Drew Singer at

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