the law

Michael Jackson Estate Handed Another Win in Leaving Neverland Appeal

Photo: HBO

Michael Jackson’s estate is one step closer to going into arbitration with HBO over the documentary series Leaving Neverland after a court of appeals affirmed a previous ruling on December 14. According to Variety, the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals unanimously ruled that the contract disagreement between the Jackson estate and HBO over a decades-old non-disparagement clause cannot be thrown out, affirming a previous California court ruling. The clause dates back to HBO’s 1992 concert film for Jackson’s Dangerous tour, and his estate is asking for $100 million over the network’s investigation into the child-sexual-abuse allegations against Jackson, which it claims broke the contract. This ruling, like the previous one, does not mean HBO has to pay up — only that the dispute must now go to contract arbitration, unless HBO wants to try its luck with appealing to the Supreme Court. “We may only identify whether the parties agreed to arbitrate such claims; it is for the arbitrator to decide whether those claims are meritorious,” the three-judge panel ruled. In an effort to avoid the arbitration process, HBO has claimed the clause discourages abuse victims from speaking up.

Michael Jackson Estate Wins Leaving Neverland Appeal