Two lawsuits brought by Michael Jackson’s most vocal accusers were revived on Friday after being dismissed in 2017.
The Second Appellate District in the California Court of Appeals issued the decision on Friday after a state law went into effect extending the statute of limitations on child sexual-abuse cases. The decision reinstated previous legal actions brought by Jackson’s accusers, James Safechuck and Wade Robson, against two corporate entities that Jackson owned, MJJ Productions and MJJ Ventures Inc.
The two men alleged childhood sexual abuse by the late king of pop in last year’s Emmy-winning documentary ‘Leaving Neverland’. Jackson’s estate has issued heated denials about the accusations made in the film.
The suits had been dismissed in 2017 after a judge ruled that MJJ Productions and MJJ Ventures were not liable because “no one other than Michael Jackson had the legal ability or authority to control Michael Jackson.”
But a state law signed by California Governor Gavin Newsom in October allowed the suits to move forward on Friday. The law, which went into effect on Wednesday, increased the age for which an accuser could report an allegation from 26 years old to 40 years old.
The restoration seemed likely after three judges made a tentative ruling on the case in November.
Safechuck and Robson previously sued the Michael Jackson estate, but their cases were dismissed in 2016.
In February, the estate took legal action against HBO for violating a non-disparagement agreement and engaging in “posthumous character assassination” of Jackson, who died in 2009. The case was sent to arbitration, but HBO appealed that ruling in October.